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The 10 Scales of the MMPI

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10 Scales of the MMPI

The MMPI has 10 clinical scales that are used to indicate different psychological conditions. Despite the names given to each scale, they are not a pure measure since many conditions have overlapping symptoms. Because of this, most psychologists simply refer to each scale by number.

Scale 1 – Hypochondriasis: This scale was designed to asses a neurotic concern over bodily functioning. The 32-items on this scale concern somatic symptoms and physical well being. The scale was originally developed to identify patients displaying the symptoms of hypochondria.

Scale 2 – Depression: This scale was originally designed to identify depression, characterized by poor morale, lack of hope in the future, and a general dissatisfaction with one's own life situation. Very high scores may indicate depression, while moderate scores tend to reveal a general dissatisfaction with one’s life.

Scale 3 – Hysteria: The third scale was originally designed to identify those who display hysteria in stressful situations. Those who are well educated and of a high social class tend to score higher on this scale. Women also tend to score higher than men on this scale.

Scale 4 - Psychopathic Deviate: Originally developed to identify psychopathic patients, this scale measures social deviation, lack of acceptance of authority, and amorality. This scale can be thought of as a measure of disobedience. High scorers tend to be more rebellious, while low scorers are more accepting of authority. Despite the name of this scale, high scorers are usually diagnosed with a personality disorder rather than a psychotic disorder.

Scale 5 – Masculinity/Femininity: This scale was designed by the original author’s to identify homosexual tendencies, but was found to be largely ineffective. High scores on this scale are related to factors such as intelligence, socioeconomic status, and education. Women tend to score low on this scale.

Scale 6 – Paranoia: This scale was originally developed to identify patients with paranoid symptoms such as suspiciousness, feelings of persecution, grandiose self-concepts, excessive sensitivity, and rigid attitudes. Those who score high on this scale tend to have paranoid symptoms.

Scale 7 – Psychasthenia: This diagnostic label is no longer used today and the symptoms described on this scale are more reflective of obsessive-compulsive disorder. This scale was originally used to measure excessive doubts, compulsions, obsessions, and unreasonable fears.

Scale 8 – Schizophrenia: This scale was originally developed to identify schizophrenic patients and reflects a wide variety of areas including bizarre thought processes and peculiar perceptions, social alienation, poor familial relationships, difficulties in concentration and impulse control, lack of deep interests, disturbing questions of self-worth and self-identity, and sexual difficulties. This scale is considered difficult to interpret.

Scale 9 – Hypomania: This scale was developed to identify characteristics of hypomania such as elevated mood, accelerated speech and motor activity, irritability, flight of ideas, and brief periods of depression.

Scale 0 – Social Introversion: This scale was developed later than the other nine scales as is designed to assess a person’s tendency to withdraw from social contacts and responsibilities.

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