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What does the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory measure?

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The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 measures adult psychopathology, or the presence of mental disorders, according to test distributor Pearson Clinical. Released as the MMPI in 1943, then revised in 1989, it has since been called the MMPI-2 per its publisher, the University of Minnesota.

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Mental health professionals use the MMPI-2 to diagnose mental illness and determine how to best treat it. When asked to offer opinions in the courtroom, psychological experts frequently base their testimony on the interpretation of MMPI-2 results. The assessment also has applications in many types of counseling and therapy, including college counseling, career advisement, family therapy, marriage counseling, and substance abuse treatment, states Pearson Clinical.

The MMPI-2 is also employed outside the mental health field. For example, medical professionals keep its results in mind when planning treatment for patients suffering from chronic pain. Public safety agencies utilize MMPI-2 testing to help determine whether a job applicant could succeed in a high-risk work environment, notes Pearson Clinical.

The MMPI-2 is the most frequently used test of its type. After assessment, the answers of the respondent are compared to those given by other respondents using a pool of data called a normative sample. The MMPI-2 is considered authoritative in part because its normative sample is so large, containing test results from over 2,500 demographically diverse adults, reports Pearson Clinical.

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