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Desirability Scale Values and Dispersions for MMPI Items MMPI

Jackson, Douglas N.; Messick, Samuel J.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Institute of Mental Health, Item Analysis, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, Personality Measures, Response Style (Tests), Social Desirability


171 college students, 83 males and 88 females, were asked to rate 566 items on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) on a nine-point scale. They were asked to judge "whether each statement reflects a desirable or undesirable characteristic" of a person. Although the primary concern of the study was to uncover consistent individual differences in the ratings of desirability, it was also felt that some measure of average judged desirability and of the variability of the ratings for each item would be useful for future scale development and evaluation. The scaling method of successive intervals was used to obtain a desirability scale value and discriminal dispersion for each MMPI item. The resultant scale represents averages for each item. These averages were also compared with average desirability ratings obtained by an earlier investigator; their correlation was .964, indicating an extremely high stability of average desirability judgments and their comparability across samples. (JGL)

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