Definitions of MMPI/MMPI-2: Content Scales

Butcher, Graham, Williams  & Ben-Porath  (1989, 1990)

These scales were developed through basically a combined rational approach with some empirical refining. All the scales have items, which are obvious in content, and measure what the respondent wishes to communicate. Therefore, these scales will be susceptible to response bias to either exaggerate or to deny problems. Carefully interpret the validity scales before interpreting these content scales. The correlations are based on 2,600 men and women (Butcher et al.,1990). 
 

ANX  Anxiety - (23 items). High:  Tension, worry, fears of losing one's mind, lack of confidence, somatic indications of anxiety such as heart pounding, shortness of breath, and disturbed sleep. Correlates .82 Welsh's Anxiety, .82 with Pt and .82 with Wiggins DEP.

FRS  Fears - (23 items). High: Specific fears such as high places, snakes, spiders, fires, storms, the dark, dirt, blood, money, mice, leaving home, water, and being confined. Correlates .92 with Wiggins' Phobia scale.
 

OBS  Obsessiveness - (16 items). High: Rumination about decisions and problems, compulsions such as counting and saving unimportant things, unable to control obsessional thoughts, and obsession over forbidden aggressive feelings. Correlates .82 with Welsh's Anxiety scale, and .78 with Pt.

DEP  Depression - (33 items). High: Severe or major depression, brooding, crying easily, pessimism, suicidal ideation, guilt, remorse, overly sensitive, apathy, feeling worthless, unresolved object loss, and feeling empty. Correlates .90 with Wiggins DEP, .84 Welsh's Anxiety, and .82 with Pt. 
 

HEA  Health Concerns - (36 items). High: Gastrointestinal symptoms, neurological symptoms, sensory problems, dermatological problems, pain, and respiratory problems. Correlates .90 with Hs, .83 with Wiggins ORG, and .80 with Wiggins HEA.

BIZ  Bizarre Mentation - (24 items). High: Paranoid ideation- persecutory type, ideas of reference, delusional, derealitization, thought intrusion, and hallucinations. Correlates .83 with Wiggins Psychoticism scale.
 

ANG  Anger - (16 items). High: The fear of, or actually losing self-control over aggressive impulses, irritable, impatient, stubborn, physically and/or verbally  abusive, and explosive. Correlates .80 with Wiggins Manifest Hostility scale.

CYN  Cynicism - (23 items). High: Hostile, suspicious, misanthropic; sees people as manipulative, incompetent, dishonest and unfair; feels misunderstood, distrustful, exploitive, unsympathetic, selfish, grandiose, envious, and judgmental. Correlates .85 with Wiggins Authority Conflicts, and .62 Wiggins Manifest Hostility scales.
 

ASP  Antisocial Practices - (22 items). High: Anti-authority, rationalizing and identifying with criminal behavior, admitting to antisocial or unlawful behaviors such as stealing or acting out during school years, dishonesty, selfishness, and exploitiveness. None of the items are associated with violent behavior. Correlates .88 with Wiggins Authority Conflicts scale.

TPA  Type A – (19 items). High: Impatience, easily annoyed with other people who interrupt their tasks which are valued over social relationships, hard driving, fast paced, task-oriented, vengeful, humorless, rigid, envious, hostile, competitive, insensitive, can't wait in line, workaholism, demanding, and racing against the clock. All items are keyed "True". Correlates .79 with Wiggins Manifest Hostility scale, and  also .56 with Wiggins Hypomania scale.
 

LSE  Low Self-esteem - (24 items). High: These individuals do not like themselves, nor could they imagine other people liking them. They feel unattractive, clumsy, useless, inadequate, unassertive, no self-confidence, uncomfortable with positive feedback, oversensitve, dependent and confused.  Correlates .81 with Wiggins Low Moral, and .73 with Pt.

SOD  Social Discomfort - (24 items). High: introverted, shy, social avoidance, dislike of crowds or parties or group activities, prefers to be alone, and hard to get to know. Correlates .92 with Wiggins Social Maladjustment, and .85 with Si.
 

FAM  Family Problems - (25 items). High: Family is unsupportive, unloving, with a good deal of aggression, rejection, and hostility. Indications of verbal and physical abuse, marriages are seen as unhappy, feelings of jealousy, resentment and wish to avoid family members. Correlates .84 with Wiggins Family Problems.

WRK  Work Interference - (33 items). High: Difficulties concentrating, anxiety, tension, pressure, lack of self-confidence, lack of support system, indecisiveness about career choice, negative attitudes toward others, authority conflicts, lack initiative, impatient, unorganized, lack of confidence, confused occupational goals, tired, dependent, avoids responsibility, slow paced and may be passive-aggressive. Correlates .87 with Welsh's Anxiety, .84 with Wiggins Low Moral, and .82 with Pt. 
 

TRT  Negative Treatment Indicators - (26 items). High: Negative attitudes toward health care providers and treatment, pessimistic about individuals being understanding or helpful, not comfortable in self-disclosing, or with change, pessimistic, low frustration tolerance, defensive, distrustful, indecisive, feel future is a matter of luck, avoids responsibility for own actions, dislike of doctors, feel can't change faults, would rather just take a pill than talk over problems, and believes that mental illness is a sign of weakness. Correlates .78 with Welsh's Anxiety, .77 with Wiggins Low Moral, and .72 with Pt.

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1983-2011 Robert M. Gordon, Ph.D. ABPP.
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