A self-report inventory
is a type of psychological test
in which a patient fills out a survey or questionnaire
with or without the help of a mental health professional. Self-report inventories often ask direct questions about symptoms
, and personality traits associated with one or many mental disorders
or personality types
in order to easily gain insight into a patient's personality or illness. Most self-report inventories can be taken or administered within five to 15 minutes, although some, like the MMPI
, can take up to three hours to fully complete.
Problems with Self-report inventories
The biggest problem with self-report inventories is that patients may exaggerate symptoms in order to make their situation seem worse, or they may under-report the severity or frequency of symptoms in order to minimize their problems. For this reason, self-report inventories should be used only for measuring for symptom change and severity and should never be solely used to diagnose a mental disorder. Clinical discretion is advised for all self-report inventories.
Many personality tests, such as the MMPI or the MBTI are designed to make it very difficult for a person to exaggerate traits and symptoms. However, these tests suffer from the inherent problems associated with personality theory and testing, in that personality is a fluid concept that can be difficult to define. Most personality inventories are based on a particular personality theory.
Popular Self-Report Inventories
- Aiken, L.R. (2002) "Psychological Testing and Assessment." New York: Allyn & Bacon