Personality Assessment, Its Various Kinds, Their Reliability, Validity, and Ethics


Personality psychology investigates on the difference across people and how the personal differences mold society structures and people lives. Personality is simply a multifaceted system which can be theorized at various different analysis levels. Personality according to Weiner and Greene (2011) is simplified by splitting it into four related but conceptually unique categories. Differences between most people can specifically be considered to found in the domains of narratives, abilities, motives, and traits. Abilities regards what individuals can or cannot do, traits shows what individuals characteristically do, feel, and think, motive include what individuals desire or want, while narratives show the unique people’s lives stories. Personality traits are regarded as the comparatively enduring behaviors, feelings, and thoughts that differentiate people from each other and are stimulated in trait giving situations. This paper focuses on evaluating personality assessment, by effectively analyzing various kinds of personality assessments, evaluating their reliability, validity, and ethics.

Use of Personality Assessment in the Psychology Field

As a scientific endeavor, personality assessment seeks to evaluate those traits which constitute significant individual variations in personality to create correct measures of attributes of these kinds, and to fully explore the significant meaning of these attributes and measured traits (Weiner& Greene, 2011). Personality assessment can be regarded as a set of processes employed by individuals or an individual for developing image and impressions, checking hypothesis ad making decisions regarding another individual’s characteristics pattern which evaluate her or his behavior in contact with the environment.

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Personality assessment is a expertisein professional psychology that entails the interpretation, scoring, and administration of empirically supported personality styles and traits measures so as to refine clinical diagnoses, increase behavioral prediction accuracy in various settings and contexts for instance educational, clinical, organization, and forensic, and in order to inform and structure psychological interventions. The personality assessments are used to evaluate individual personality and how they influence their behaviors in different situation. Personality assessment is also used in psychology to assist in determining personality disorders, and how these disorders may influence individual behaviors in different situations. Although there is no standard way of defining personality, psychologists have tried to define how a normal person should behave in various situations, or the kind of personality people who have had different experiences in life should possess. This is used to create a standard on measuring personality disorders. Thus, the main purpose of personality assessment in psychology is to detect psychological disorder and to determine what need to be corrected to control the behavior of different people with different psychological disorders (Weiner& Greene, 2011).

Examples or Case Studies of Personality Assessment

There are various personality assessment tools that can be in different settings. Some of these tools include Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, and Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory,

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)

MMPI is a personality assessment measure that was established in the 1940s to determine mental health issues in medical and psychiatric settings, and it swiftly turned to a standard instrument for personality measurement. The true-false personality inventory popularity was greatly due to its easy to use format and also due the fact that the scales contain validity that is well-established in evaluating clinical syndromes and symptoms. The tool went through various revisions in 1980s creating two tests that included the adult and adolescent test forms. The adult version MMPI-2 contains attitudes, beliefs, and symptoms in individuals aged over 18, while the adolescence version contain MMPI-A assessing individuals aged from 14 to 18. The adult version an inventory with 567-item, while the adolescence contains 478-item. There has been development of various scales to determine clinical issues. There are three forms of scale which handle issues in various ways. This includes MMPI-2 content scales, profile codes, and traditional clinical scales, as well as the supplemental and specific problems scales.  In this case, a scale refers to a group of items from the item pool of MMPI-2 which has been demonstrated to measure specific personality traits and symptom patterns. Every item scale or cluster is normed on a normal individuals’ population.  The normative group works as the point of reference to which all profiles are associated (Butcher & William, 2009).

The clinical scales of MMPI-2 were created by empirically determining the items which separated normal of non-patients sample with clinical patients that contain clear diagnoses.  It include Ma scale for mania, Hs scale for hypochondriasis, Sc scale for schizophrenia, D scale for depression, Pt scale for psychopathic deviation, Pd scale for psychopathic deviation, Hy scale for hysteria, pt scale psychasthenia and  Pa scale for paranoid thinking. Two extra scales were as well integrated on the clinical profile to handle sex role identification issues; Mf scale and SI scale for social extroversion and introversion. Content based scales refer to homogenous clusters of item that evaluate unitary themes and stand for clear communication regarding practitioner issues. It contains 15 scales content measuring various symptom problems and areas including family issues, bizarre mentation, and antisocial practices. Special scales on the other hard was created to handle unique issues that include possibility of developing substance abuse issues, and whether a person recognizeshaving alcohol of drug dependence issues (Butcher, 2010). Currently there are many different MMPI-2 applications for evaluating people across extensive settings. Modern use of MMPI-2 include assessing clients being admitted to psychiatric inpatient facility, understanding issues and probable treatment resistance for individuals undergoing psychotherapy, giving therapist personality information to employ in providing client response in psychotherapy, and evaluating behavior symptoms and problem in neuropsychological assessment of clients contain severe head injury, among other job related applications (Butcher et al., 2015).

Reliability, Validity, and Ethical Issues

One of the main ethical issue regarding personality assessment is exaggeration, especially when people reporting on personality in various work or institutional set ups. MPPI-2 assists in eliminating any deceptive information regarding individual personality. Various MMPI-2 scales assist clinicians in evaluating whether client’s responses item give main personality information or are rather simply showing deceptive motivational or response sets patterns which disguise the true motivations and feelings of a client (Butcher, 2010). Various validity scales have been created to assess a client’s test approach. Some of these scales include L Scale, which handles the willingness of a client to acknowledge problems and faults, K Scale to appraise defensiveness test or the some people’s tendency to minimize issues, F Scale to evaluate some people tendency to exaggerate their issues or to false the test by responding excessively to extreme items, and VRIN and TRIN scales that measures response inconsistency. The above scales ensure that the assessment validity is maintained. The instrument has a reliability of 0.50 to .80 with hypochondriasis being the most reliable measure (Butcher et al., 2015).

Research Areas where the Personality Assessment tests are being Applied

The MMPI test is applied in various research areas, especially in the clinical field while investigating the personality disorders including schizophrenia, mania, hypochondriasis, depression, psychopathic deviation, psychopathic deviation, hysteria, psychastheniaand paranoid thinking. It is also used in different workplace including airports, in forensic department and student enrollment.

Ethic, Linguistic, Cultural and other Demographics Issues being applied by Studies

In the evaluated case, MMPI-2 was being used to determine the variation in self-reported psychiatric symptomatology based on adult status of attachment interview among first time mothers originating from high-risk poverty. In this case, the assessment involved 110 women from different cultural background which included Asian, black, and white, and with different level of education. This implies the measure can handle people from different cultural ground ad has linguistic aspect such that it can be structured using different languages. It has also been divided for adults; MMPI-2 and for adolescence MMPI-A (Butcher et al., 2015).

Statistical Issues with Measurement in these Cases

MMPI measurement did not demonstrate any sense of statistical issues in this case.

Measurements Information Provision to Assist in Answering Questions

The measurements gave more information regarding the mental condition of the participants. The tool helped in determining the variation between self-reported psychiatric problems compared to the actual problem based on the tool scales. It helped in revealing the aspect of biasness in the self-reported psychiatric issues.

Future of the Measurement

MMPI was established in 1940s and it is still being used today to assess people’s personality in different sectors. It has been useful for over 70 years and it is still being useful and great measures to ensure valid and reliable data has been collected. In this regard, MMPI has a high possibility of being highly utilized even in the future.

Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory (MCMI)

This is a personality assessment tool that is normal employed in clinical practice and extensively used in research practices. MCMI contains 22 clinical scales which were structured to be syndrome operational measure derived from psychopathology and personality theory. The initial 10scales are employed to measure basic personality styles maladaptive, the following 6 scales are structured to tap the clinical symptoms syndromes that are less severe, and the other three are created to evaluate disorders with more severe symptoms. These scales are ordered to show groups that are presumed to be interlinked in a manner that each might serve as a modification, extension, and precursor of another. In this regard, the profiles and scales of the MCMI evaluate theory-derived variables quantifiably and directly (Craig, 2013). Since the variables are fastened to an extensive-based theory, they propose unique clinical dynamics and patient diagnoses, together with testable hypotheses regarding current behavior and patient history. There are four forms of MCMI which include MCMI-III, MCMI-IV, MCMI-I, and MCMI-II. Their development process involves three validation stages. Both MCMI-II and MCMI-I utilizes base-rate scores that entails the raw scores transformation in a manner that the patients proportion who score more than cutoff point of every scale corresponds to the true scale-rated prevalence disorders in an illustrative  patients national population. The instrument measures personality scales that include schizoid, antisocial, narcissistic, histrionic, dependent, avoidant, paranoid personality, borderline personality, schizotypal personality, self-defeating personality, passive-aggressive personality, compulsive, and aggressive. The measure is administered as a questionnaire that involves answering of true and false questions (Craig, 2013).

Validity, Reliability and Ethical Issues

Scale development and item selection in MCMI progressed via a three validation steps sequence. These steps include external-criterion, internal-structural, and theoretical-substantive. By employing various strategies of validation, the MCMI seek to uphold the test developers’ commitment standards to different validation and construction method. The instrument has also gone through various revisions to develop MCMI-IV which is more refined, with a high level of reliability and validity.

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Despite the extensive range of translation into different languages, the four versions of MCMI have maintained their high level of validity and reliability in measuring various personality disorders. The tool does not present a lot of ethical issues, especially based on the fact that the tool has employed measures to ensure that no exaggerated or deceptive responses are used to scale a client (Craig, 2013).

Test Application

This test is only employed in clinical set-up. It is basically used to enhance diagnoses of personality disorders in clinical settings, including the most severe personality disorders. It is also used in the clinical and psychological research field to further analyze and explore personality disorders, their symptoms and the best form of approach to treat or manage them. The scales organization was confirmed by correlations and factors analysis performed with tests from third party which further affirmed the scales validity. Alpha coefficient and internal consistency for the test and test-retest reliability were also confirmed to be excellent.

Ethic, Linguistic, Cultural and other Demographics Issues being applied by Studies

MCMI is a multicultural personality assessment tool that has been adapted in various countries with different cultural aspects. It has been translated into several languages to be applied widely. The tool has also been modified to fit a multicultural set-up in the United States with all minority tribes being considered. It has been translated into Spanish, Danish, Dutch-language translation, Korean language, and Chinese among Others. The instrument is mostly applied among adults of all genders, nationality, race, and all other demographic factors. The tool is specifically designed for adults, and most of developmental experiments and studies were conducted using adults. It also has younger kids and adolescents version which are regarded as the Millon Pre-Adolescent Clinical Inventory (M-PACI) and Millon Adolescent Clinical Inventory (MACI).  However, the adult is more widely employed compared to the other two tools (Rossi &Derksen, 2015). This tool can unethically be interpreted, especially because there are no scales to determine exaggerated responses from the client.

Statistical Issues with Measurement in these Cases

MCMI has been used extensively across the globe with its validity and reliability being measured with a different sample size in each region. However, despite of the sample size, the outcome in terms of score range, validity and reliability has been consistent. This means that the test does not have statistical issues.

Measurements Information Provision to Assist in Answering Questions

The measurement contains various scales that used to measure the presence of various disorders in people and their level of development. This means, the instrument is used in one way or another to answer the assessor’s speculations. The answers provided in most cases either proves or disapproves the assessors or the psychiatrists speculation regarding a client. The extensive scale also provided psychologist to define another possible on the client’s condition.

Future of the Measurement

The measurement was developed long time ago; from 1960s onwards. This means the tool have been used for long, with various modifications being made to fit different scenarios and anticipations. The tool has been improved such that it currently aligns with DSM assessment requirements. It has also been widely employed in different cultural grounds and in different linguistics. Its high level of viability and reliability as well as extensive application, and revisions to refine it demonstrates that this tool is here to stay. Any changes in the psychological field can easily be accommodated by a revision for the tool to remain viable in the future.

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