top of page

How to Respond to the Challenge of “Why did you use the short form of the MMPI-2?”

Some psychologists are afraid to use the “short form” of the MMPI-2. There are many reasons to use the so-called “short form” which has 370 items (the too long form has 567 items). The short form (which I prefer to call the “basic form,” is much better to use when the person may have dyslexia, be in pain, have limited attention span, be minimally cooperative, be in jail or in a hospital, or when the time spent on the long form would be better spent on other types of assessments. Just piling up more items on a self report does not increase the predictive validity of the test. It is more effective psychodiagnostics to use a battery of different kinds of assessment, i.e. self-reports (such as the MMPI-2), clinician rating instruments (such as the SWAP), performance tests (such as the Rorschach or TAT), an intelligence test and neuropsych screen, document review, structured interview, and collateral interviews.

When asked in court why I hadn’t used the “full MMPI-2″ as if I had failed to give the complete test, my response is, “I used the basic MMPI-2. It is not a truncated incomplete version of the MMPI-2. It has 370 items. That makes it the longest self-report test other than the 567 item long form of the MMPI-2. The other most used psychodiagnostic self-report tests are the Millon with 175 items, the Personality Assessment Inventory with 344 items, and the NEO-PI-R with 240 items. I get all the basic validity scales, basic clinical scales and subscales with the basic version. These are the most researched psychodiagnostic scales in the world. I get about 100 scales from the basic MMPI-2. So it is not like I am missing important data from using it, and I’d rather not exhaust the person and use other forms of assessment as well.”

bottom of page