Using MMPI-2 in Psychological Assessment


Test bias remains one of the prevailing concerns for experts in the psychological assessments. In “Racial bias in personality assessment: Using the MMPI-2 to predict psychiatric diagnoses of African American and Caucasian chemical dependency inpatients”, Monnot, Quirk, Hoerger, and Brewer (2009) discuss in-depth the significance of racial bias in testing. After conducting empirical research on the male veteran chemical-dependent population, researchers concluded that the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2) involves a series of racially biased diagnostic predictions (Monnot et al., 2009).

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However, a brief analysis of the study’s findings in the context of contemporary issues in psychological assessment suggests that current evaluations of MMPI-2 prove to be valid and reliable, excluding the role of racial bias.

Main Text

Previously criticized for being biased toward racial minorities, MMPI-2 raises a heated debate in the scientific community. While some psychologists argue that the self-report inventory contains a set of discriminative statements, others oppose this belief, pointing to the empirical evidence disregarding the nature of the aforementioned argument. In their study, Monnot et al. (2009) aimed at testing both of the hypotheses by applying racial bias to different clinical settings, patient populations, and relevant clinical criteria.

The scientists assumed that this technique might allow them to prove that mean differences in the previously conducted experiments on the matter are better explained with the natural differences between groups rather than racial bias. By using relatively new Restructured Clinical scales, researchers found that the observed inconsistency in the MMPI-2 evaluation heavily depends on the criterion types, clinical setting, and patient population (Monnot et al., 2009). By this, I mean that the process of replicating the results of the previous studies requires an introduction of the external criteria which do not necessarily apply to all social groups.

Instead of focusing on racial bias when criticizing the MMPI-2, psychologists should ponder the implications of social inclusion in the existing testing method. For instance, as noted by Monnot et al. (2009), the current status of the inventory proved ineffective in predicting the diagnostic status of male veterans, addicted to substances. In this case, the test’s failure to identify the corresponding symptoms is connected to the differences in sample characteristics rather than racial belonging.

A summary of the study’s findings provides sufficient evidence to argue that the analyzed text exhibits accurate and complete ideas with an appropriate formal tone and scientifically precise language. Before reporting the newly discovered ideas on the MMPI-2, Monnot et al. (2009) give an overview of opposing opinions on the matter from the literature. In their study, researchers refer both to the pilot studies, conducted in 1950, and most recent experiments in the 2000s. Such a broad review of the material signifies a high level of analysis from numerous perspectives. When presenting their results, Monnot et al. (2009) use many visuals, in particular, figures and tables summarizing the information. Such quantitative approach allows readers to compare data more efficiently, contributing to the accuracy of the suggested ideas.

The syntax is mostly limited to simple sentences, written in the active voice and present tense, which increases the readability of the paper. The paper is free of jargons, politically insensitive language, and collocations. Coherent and concise, the summary of the findings is presented in the chronological order. Logical organization and scientific precision of the research increases its reliability in the eyes of the reader.

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Though aware of the issue of racial bias in psychological assessments, I was not fully knowledgeable about the significance of external criteria, clinical settings, and patient populations in the research, before reading this article. More specifically, findings of Monnot et al. (2009) challenged my perception of the racial bias definition.

Earlier I did not take into account the role of natural distinctions existing between different racial and social groups, interpreting possible inconsistencies in sample characteristics as the researcher’s bias. Therefore, when encountering the debate on the presence of the discriminative statements in MMPI-2 for the first time, I took the opposition side, convinced in the invalidity of the inventory to replicate the results. However, the data analysis provided by Monnot et al. (2009) persuaded me that the testing method discussed has high reliability when additional requirements for the study, mentioned above, are followed.

Though published ten years ago, the article analyzed effectively responds to the issue of racial bias in the present-day world. On the one hand, racial and ethnic disparities remain prevalent in the mental healthcare because practitioners make unwarranted assumptions about the patient when diagnosing and treating, based on their stereotypical judgments. On the other hand, it is erroneous to disregard the differences in culture, ethnics, and race, since representatives of various social groups may represent strikingly distinctive symptoms, responses to treatment, and attitude to diagnoses.

In response to this controversy, Monnot et al. (2009) discussed the extent to which MMPI-2 allows making generalizations regardless of the population’s demographic variable. In other words, researchers emphasized the test’s capacity to produce empirical evidence, applicable to the large population, apropos of the external criteria.


Ultimately, a short analysis of the research by Monnot et al. (2009) provides enough arguments to claim that MMPI-2 is a valid and reliable testing method in psychological assessments. Logically organized and scientifically accurate, the article includes a thorough analysis of the data collected, along with the literature review. Highly recommended for scholarly reading, this study effectively responds to the issue of racism in testing, challenging the initial definition of bias.


Monnot, M. J., Quirk. S. W., Hoerger, M., & Brewer, L. (2009). Racial bias in personality assessment: Using the MMPI-2 to predict psychiatric diagnoses of African American and Caucasian chemical dependency inpatients. Psychological Assessment, 21(2), 137-151. Web.

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