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Judgmental Dimensions of Psychopathology NICHD MMPI

Jackson, Douglas N.; Messick, Samuel J.
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Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
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Subject/Key Words:
National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institute of Mental Health, Ontario Mental Health Foundation, Individual Characteristics, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, Multivariate Analysis, Personality Assessment, Psychopathology, Responses


A multivariate analysis of judgments of desirability by 150 judges of 566 MMPI items uncovered 13 judgmental dimensions of psychopathology. The largest corresponded to the mean desirability rating, and the remaining 12 were considered judgmental points of view about the desirability of pathological content. Of these, 10 were identified as follows: Denial of lack of somatic control, Impulsivity vs. religious preoccupation, Femininity, Tolerance of deviance, Oversensitivity and fearfulness, Socially deviant attitudes, Impulse acceptance vs. grandiosity, Listless distractibility, Worry, and Timid cautiousness vs. masculine adventuresomeness. Judgment scales based upon these dimensions proved to be at least moderately reliable, as did the majority of response scales obtained by scoring self descriptive responses to these items in two independent samples. Correlations between judgment and response measures of the same dimensions varied over a wide range. Discussion highlighted the complexity of interpreting judgmental viewpoints as trait measures, the role of defensiveness and other response styles as mediators, and the importance of distinguishing trait from method variance.

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