Reliability and Viability of Psychological Assessment Instruments
Compare and contrast the two different measures of the psychological construct Personality. These measures are
- MMPI and
- Personality Assessment Inventory.
Human beings have different characteristics and tendencies. Some of these characteristics happen to be eccentric and taboo to the society while others are normal and acceptable to the community. These variations witnessed in different people are one of the reasons that have led to the upcoming of various psychological tests and assessments that are meant to determine or gauge people’s mental nature.
The purpose of this paper is to compare the MMPI and the PAI measures of psychological construct personality. In the first place, the mental construct is termed to be a tool which is mainly used to facilitate the understanding of human behaviors. However, the psychological construct such as personality is termed to be an abstraction which cannot be seen directly but rather inferred through observed regularities in behavioral and cognitive responses within particular settings. Accordingly, the construct usually represents the real phenomenon which exists apart from potential ways in which they are measured (Morey, 2013).
This paper is aimed at looking at both the reliability and viability of these mentioned psychological assessment instruments. Although the two terms are related, they happen to have different meanings. Reliability refers merely to consistency in results. A reliable assessment is a test where the same results are obtained from various tests that were done under the same conditions. Validity, on the other hand, is the credibility of an experiment or an assessment (Cheung, Leung, Fan, Song, Zhang & Zhang, 2014).
The measures of the psychological construct personality of our interest are MMPI and the Personality Assessment Inventory (Morey, 2013). The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory is the most widely used and researched clinical assessment tool which is utilized by the mental health professionals. On the other hand, the personality assessment inventory usually provides the information which is relevant for clinical diagnosis, screening and treatment planning for psychopathology. Moreover, it usually covers constructs which are more relevant to a broad-based assessment of mental disorders (Morey, 2013).
In all, psychological tests measure trait and characteristic constructs through the use of the ability, achievement, personality, interests and attitudes, and neuropsychological tests, to the end of interpreting the results for some use or purpose—within the confines of the assumptions mentioned above. The measures are used in clinical, educational, personnel (business and military), and research contexts. The reliability of these measures is ascertained by considering the unsystematic errors that may render the results unreplaceable or inconsistent. Moreover, the validity of a test result, as it is applied to a specific use or purpose, is built upon the applicability of a set of test scores to the construct being measured. In conclusion, once a test has been deemed reliable, used in its proper context, and applied correctly to a purpose or use (valid) it has been melted into the cup.
Different Categories of Psychological Tests
The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory and Personality Assessment Inventory usually offer a broad set of scales which are devoted to the identification of the response styles. Conversely, this paper will compare the effectiveness of both the two inventories as the indicators of over-reporting (Rogers, Sewell, Morey & Ulstad, 2015). There is no apparent discrepancy between the test used and the context in which it is utilized; however, each setting does predominantly use one or more criteria. Psychological tests are primarily used in clinical, educational, personnel, and research contexts. Clinical situations entail the use of mental testing to facilitate counseling, school psychology, clinical psychology, and neuropsychology through the use of intelligence tests, objective personality tests, and projective techniques. In the clinical context, professional psychologists are usually the examiner, and the examinee is someone who has some psychological problem.
The use of tests in psychology assumes several traditions which are essential to the foundation and application of any psychological measure. First, examiners must suppose that individual traits and characteristics are measurable, computable, and able to be differentiated between individuals and that the characteristics describe potentially essential aspects of the individual. Second, it must be assumed that these traits and characteristics are reasonably long-lasting and reliable, so that variations are kept to a minimal. Last, an examiner must be able to observe features and characteristics through some apparent behavior. If not, it would be impossible to quantify the underlying construct. With these assumptions in mind, there are many ways to define psychological tests. The concise definition has already been covered above. Psychological tests also can be classified and determined by the uses of the trials and the people who use the test. What is more, psychology there are five general categories by which tests are divided.
The first major category of psychological testing involves the quantification of mental abilities, through both individually and the group administered tests, which measure intelligence, memory, quantitative reasoning, creative thinking, vocabulary, and spatial ability. On the other hand, achievement tests are specifically designed to measure knowledge or skills in one particular area and are administered through the avenues of certifications, licensing, government-sponsored programs, batteries, single-subject tests, and individual achievement tests.
Third, personality tests involve using objective personality tests, projective techniques, and other miscellaneous techniques to reveal human personality. The last two categories explore measures of interest and attitudes, and neuropsychology mainly through the use of vocational interest measures and tests of brain functioning.
Use of Psychological Tests in Various Contexts
Alternatively, the educational context is most concerned with the use of ability and achievement tests by teachers and instructional facilitators to verify student learning or to calculate academic success. Third, ability and personality tests are used in a personal framework by businesses and the military to choose among applicants for a specific position or to assign already employed individuals to their optimal positions. Last, the research context pertains to the use of the full spectrum of psychological tests as the dependent variable in experiments, describing samples, or even research on the tests themselves.
The Personality Assessment Inventory, on the other hand, is shorter, easier to read; clinical scales do not have item overlap as compared to the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. Accordingly, the subscales of PAI within the clinical scales norms are probably better than the MMPI. On the other hand, due to some scales are short, it implies test omissions can have extreme effects on the outcome of that scale. Therefore, test omission is much more detrimental (Cheung, Cheung, Leung, Ward & Leong, 2015).
In the article called Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, James states that MMPI was developed around 1940 to assess mental health problems within the medical settings (Cheung, Leung, Ward & Leong, 2015). The MMPI has an item overlap which allows for the scale to be longer and have more items as compared to PAI which does not have as many details on all of its scales which implies test omissions are detrimental (Morey, 2013). Additionally, the MMPI usually takes into account self-favorable and unfavorable presentations. On the contrary, the clinical scales do not have item overlap, and thus endorsement on one scale may result in a higher score on another level (Hathaway & McKinley, 2015). The MMPI is also longer than the PAI, and thus it can be difficult to read. The interpretation is also a little more complicated as compared to PAI (Cheung, Leung, Fan, Song, Zhang & Zhang, 2014).
Psychological tests or assessments are said to exhibit the highest levels of reliability and validity only when carried out with qualified and unbiased mental health professionals. Since human psychology is too complicated or somewhat complicated, there is no particular test that can provide a complete and conclusive assessment of a person. (Archer, Buffington-Vollum, Stredny & Handel, 2016) State that MMPI is the most popular assessment instrument used by psychologists. This technique is said to be used in court cases to provide personal information on litigants or defendants. It is common sense it's known to offer objective other than the subjective gauge of personality. According to Cheung, Leung, Ward & Leong (2015), MMPI is a well-studied and researched instrument that is highly reliable. This is mainly because it's known to provide valid and precise nature of a person's mental challenges, characteristics, and symptoms.
Effectiveness of MMPI and PAI in Indicating Over-Reporting
The profiles explained by this assessment are more accessible to clarify in court thus proving their reliability. This is because MMPI has shown to produce consistent results over an extended period. As mentioned earlier, MMPI has been used to a broader extent in both clinical and research planning. This is according to Cheung, Leung, Fan, Song & Zhang (2014). The majority of studies have been able to show and predict the results of substance abuse treatments, general psychotherapy as well as pain rehabilitation programs. Also, according to Morey (2013), there exists evidence that MMPI increased the accuracy of clinical judgments.
The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is a psychological assessment used to assess personality traits and psychopathology in individuals. According to Framingham, the primary purpose of the test is to evaluate individuals that are believed to have or suspected of having mental health or other clinical issues (Cheung, Cheung, Leung, Ward & Leong, 2015). The MMPI consists of two tests the original MMPI that has 567 true and false questions and the MMPI-RF which is the newer version that has been condensed to 338 actual and false questions.
The MMPI is used to assess an individual for mental health professionals with the purpose of developing a diagnosis for the individual suffering from a problem, create and develop a treatment plan, help with answering legal questions when used in forensic psychology, and can be used during job screenings for selection processes. The test is given to individuals and then scored to see how the individuals compare various factors with individuals that have been composed as norm groups (Cheung, Leung, Fan, Song & Zhang, 2014). The scores don’t represent a percentile rank when compared to the other ratings but are used as a comparison method so that clinicians can interpret the scores when compared to norm groups.
On the other hand, the MMPI can be used in a variety of different workplaces to screen individuals looking for a job for mental health problems which may impact their working ability or ability to do the job. One of the workplaces it can be used is the police workplace or law enforcement in general. According to Braxton, Calhoun, Williams & Boggs (2017), the MMPI is used in various pre-employment settings to assist employers in identifying individuals that may possess personality and or behavioral characteristics which may be inconsistent with the demands of a particular position in public safety occupations (Rogers, Sewell, Morey & Ulstad, 2015).
The MMPI in law enforcement settings is used more in pre-selection when individuals are attempting to gain a job within the profession, but they can also be used to evaluate workers that are already in the position and have had some stressful or traumatic situation take places such as a shooting or hostage situation. The test allows for a professional psychologist to evaluate each candidate to assess whether the individual has a mental health problem that would impact their employment. The MMPI can help to weed out individuals that would not be a good fit in a law enforcement setting due to issues with mental health and can assist in helping individuals that have suffered a stressful event to overcome the fact and get better.
In the article of Detection of Feigned Mental Disorders on the Personality Assessment Inventory: A Discriminant Analysis by Rogers, Sewel, Morey & Ulstad (2015) states that the PAI usually covers the constructs which are most relevant to a broad-based assessment of mental disorders. As an illustration, it comprises of 344 items and also requires around 50 to 60 minutes to administer. The PAI has 22 non-overlapping full scales which includes four validity scales, 11 clinical scales, two interpersonal scales and five treatment scales.
PAI happens to be a thoroughly validated instrument which has data from the three samples, and the reliability studies show that PAI scale has a high degree of internal consistency. The scoring in PAI is quick and easy and can be completed in only 15 to 20 minutes by the use of its two-part carbonless answer sheet, unlike the MMPI. The Personality Assessment Inventory usually represents an alternative self-report measure of the psychopathology over the MMPI.
Self-reporting inventories such as MMPI are advantageous to psychologists since they allow them to get precise responses to standardized questions. This means that all the subjects who get to take the test answer the exact questions hence making it easier for the therapist to make a comparison. MMPI is an objective inventory which means that different people are answering the test, in the same way, can be categorized in the same class (Rogers, Sewell, Morey & Ulstad, 2015). These inventories such as PAI and MMPI contain specific questions that are too transparent in a way that makes it easy for the subject to predict what the therapist intends to measure. This means that the matters under investigation and therapy can easily lie and fake their personalities.
The subjects’ social desirability can lead to bias and thus affect responses on the inventories (Rogers, Sewell, Morey & Ulstad, 2015). This means that specific subjects might fill the self- report inventories with information that they wish were true. In cases where patients do not comprehend the questions, the medical professionals or test developers might explain the problem to the subject in a manner that the outcome will favor them. Some topics might not have or remember the exact aspects of specific experiences they are asked about (Meehl & Hathaway, 2016). The validity and reliability of these tests has been improved by the fact that there are specific scales put in place that can quickly detect whether the subject is giving out false information and answers
In conclusion, both the PAI and the MMPI are the two measures which are often used independently to assess response style along with psychological symptomatology. The use of both tests can provide a better understanding of the applicant response. I would, however, recommend MPPI because of the substantial research background. Conversely, for the general client use I strongly support PAI since it involves less research, the scales are clean, and the reading level which is required by the client is lower.
Archer, R. P., Buffington-Vollum, J. K., Stredny, R. V., & Handel, R. W. (2016). A survey of psychological test use patterns among forensic psychologists. Journal of personality assessment, 87(1), 84-94.
Braxton, L. E., Calhoun, P. S., Williams, J. E., & Boggs, C. D. (2017). Validity rates of the Personality Assessment Inventory and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory–2 in a VA medical center setting. Journal of Personality Assessment, 88(1), 5-15.
Cheung, F. M., Leung, K., Fan, R. M., Song, W. Z., Zhang, J. X., & Zhang, J. P. (2014). Development of the Chinese personality assessment inventory. Journal of Cross-cultural psychology, 27(2), 181-199.
Cheung, F. M., Cheung, S. F., Leung, K., Ward, C., & Leong, F. (2015). The English version of the Chinese personality assessment inventory. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 34(4), 433-452.
Hathaway, S. R., & McKinley, J. C. (2015). Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory; Manual, revised.
Morey, L. C. (2013). Personality assessment inventory. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.
Meehl, P. E., & Hathaway, S. R. (2016). The K factor as a suppressor variable in the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. Journal of Applied Psychology, 30(5), 525.
Rogers, R., Sewell, K. W., Morey, L. C., & Ulstad, K. L. (2015). Detection of feigned mental disorders on the Personality Assessment Inventory: A discriminant analysis. Journal of Personality Assessment, 67(3), 629-640.
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