May 1979

Extreme MMPI Scores and the Research Diagnostic CriteriaScreening College Men for Psychopathology

Author Affiliations

From the Laboratory of Psychology and Psychopathology (Drs Haier, Rieder, and Khouri) and the Biological Psychiatry Branch (Dr Buchsbaum), National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1979;36(5):528-534. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1979.01780050038003

• This study compares psychiatric evaluations made with the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) to evaluations with a standard clinical interview and the Research Diagnostic Criteria (RDC). The purpose was to generate a nonhospitalized, previously undiagnosed sample of persons who had psychiatric difficulties or symptoms. Of 385 college male volunteers, 56 with scores at least 3 SD above the mean on at least one MMPI scale were chosen as an index group, and 27, with all MMPI scores within normal limits, as a control group. In the index group, 82% met the RDC for at least one diagnosis, whereas only 22% of the control sample met the RDC for any diagnosis. One index subject met the RDC for schizophrenia; 15 met the RDC for a major affective disorder. Some correspondence between specific MMPI profile code types and RDC diagnoses was evident. Thus, researchers can identify a range of psychopathology meeting the RDC by using MMPI screening in a nonhospital setting. Such a research sample, free from the possible artifacts of hospitalization, drug treatment, and diagnostic labeling, can be useful particularly in testing hypotheses concerning the biological correlates of psychopathology.