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February 1975

The Hysterical PersonalityAn Attempt at Validation With the MMPI

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, New York Hospital-Westchester Division Cornell University Medical College, White Plains. Drs. Slavney and McHugh are now with the Department of Psychiatry, University of Oregon Medical School, Portland.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1975;32(2):186-190. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1975.01760200050004

We attempted to validate the DSM-II diagnosis of hysterical personality and the depression often experienced by such patients by comparing mean Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) scores of hysterical personality patients with those of paranoid schizophrenic patients and a group with mixed psychiatric diagnoses. Index patients had significantly higher scores than either control group and could be distinguished on individual scales from the paranoid schizophrenics.

However, the mean MMPI profile of hysterical personalities was similar to that of depressed controls. Therefore, the MMPI alone could not differentiate these two groups nor could it confirm or refute the validity of the diagnostic concept of hysterical personality, but it did support the clinical observation that depression is a major risk for individuals given this diagnosis and that the experience of depression by these patients is genuine.