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Extreme MMPI Scores and the Research Diagnostic Criteria:  Screening College Men for Psychopathology

Richard J. Haier, PhD; Ronald O. Rieder, MD; Philippe J. Khouri, MD; Monte S. Buchsbaum, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1979;36(5):528-534. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1979.01780050038003.
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• 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.

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