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Using the MMPI-3 in Risk Assessment and Civil Forensic Assessment

The MMPI-3 was released in late 2020, and practitioners are interested in how to apply the newest version of the MMPI to their forensic referral questions. Fortunately, much of the MMPI-2-RF literature is still relevant because many of those scales were transferred over to the MMPI-3 with only minor changes. Below is some initial guidance on how to use the test in civil forensic assessments and in risk assessments.

Risk Assessment. The MMPI-3 is a useful adjunct in violence risk assessment. Tarescavage, Glassmire, & Burchett (2016) introduced a conceptual model to integrate MMPI-2-RF scale scores into risk assessments completed with the HCR-20V3 (Douglas, Hart, Webster, & Belfrage, 2013). Given the comparability of MMPI-2-RF/-3 scale scores, this model is applicable for use with the MMPI-3. Tarescavage, Glassmire, & Burchett (2016) also examined associations between MMPI-2-RF scale scores and future institutional violence in a forensic psychiatric hospital. They found that the externalizing scales, as well as Anger Proneness, were predictive of future violence. Tarescavage, Azizian, Broderick, & English (2019) conducted a similar examination of MMPI-2-RF predictors of institutional violence; however, they examined inpatients detained under sexually violent predator laws. In this case, indicators of mood dysfunction tended to be the strongest predictors (although the best predictor was the Aggression scale). Psychopathy is another important consideration in risk assessments, and the MMPI-2-RF can measure this construct (Sellbom et al., 2012; Sellbom et al., 2015). We expect these MMPI-2-RF indices of psychopathy will be readily adaptable to the MMPI-3. Furthermore, a burgeoning research literature on use of the MMPI-2-RF in suicide risk assessment should remain applicable to the MMPI-3 (e.g., Anestis et al., 2018; Tarescavage, Glassmire, & Burchett, 2018).

Civil Forensic Assessments. In terms of pre-hire evaluations of public safety candidates, the MMPI-2-RF Police Candidate Interpretive Report (PCIR; Corey & Ben-Porath, 2014) can be used to make empirically-guided interpretations of risk of future job-relevant problems. These interpretations are based on a research literature of over one-half dozen publications specifically on MMPI-2-RF predictors of job performance problems (see Ben-Porath, Corey, and Tarescavage, 2018, for a review). An MMPI-3 version of the PCIR will be available upon the test’s release. Another common use of the MMPI instruments is in civil disability evaluations. Gervais, Ben-Porath, Wygant, & Green (2007) developed the Response Bias Scale (RBS), which will be available on the MMPI-3 as an indicator of the likelihood that a test-taker will fail concurrently administered performance validity tests. Several articles have validated RBS and other MMPI-2-RF over-reporting scales for use in disability examinations (e.g., Tarescavage, Wygant, Gervais, & Ben-Porath, 2013). Furthermore, the somatic/cognitive scales have informative correlates in this setting (e.g., Gervais, Ben-Porath, & Wygant, 2009) and there is a model available for using the MMPI-2-RF in empirically guided case conceptualization of PTSD in disability evaluations (Vines, Wygant, & Gervais, 2012).  

Anestis, J. C., Finn, J. A., Gottfried, E. D., Hames, J. L., Bodell, L. P., Hagan, C. R., Arnau, R. C., Anestis, M. D., Arbisi, P. A., & Joiner, T. E. (2018). Burdonesomeness, belongingness, and capability: Assessing the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicide with MMPI-2- RF scales. Assessment, 25, 415-431.
Ben-Porath, Y. S., Corey, D. M., & Tarescavage, A. M. (2017). Using the MMPI-2-RF in preemployment evaluations of police officer candidates. In C. L. Mitchell & E. H. Dorian (eds.), Police psychology and its growing impact on modern law enforcement, (pp. 51-78). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
Corey, D. M., & Ben-Porath, Y. S. (2014). MMPI-2-RF (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2-Restructured Form): User’s guide for the Police Candidate Interpretive Report. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
Douglas, K., Hart, S., Webster, C., & Belfrage, H. (2013). HCR-20 V3: Assessing risk for violence. Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada: Mental Health, Law, and Policy Institute, Simon Fraser University.
Gervais, R. O., Ben-Porath, Y. S., & Wygant, D. B. (2009). Empirical correlates and interpretation of the MMPI-2-RF Cognitive Complaints Scale. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 23, 996-1015.
Gervais, R. O., Ben-Porath, Y. S., Wygant, D. B., & Green, P. (2007). Development and validation of a Response Bias Scale (RBS) for the MMPI-2. Assessment, 14, 196-208.
Sellbom, M., Ben-Porath, Y. S., Patrick, C. J., Wygant, D. B., Gartland, D. M., & Stafford, K. P. (2012). Development and construct validation of MMPI-2-RF measures assessing global psychopathy, fearless-dominance, and impulsive-antisociality. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 3, 17-38.
Tarescavage, A., Wygant, D. B., Gervais, R. O., & Ben-Porath, Y. S. (2013). Association between the MMPI-2 Restructured Form (MMPI-2-RF) and malingered neurocognitive dysfunction among non-head injury disability claimants. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 27, 313-335.
Sellbom, M., Drislane, L. E., Johnson, A. K., Goodwin, B. E., Phillips, T. R., & Patrick, C. J. (2015). Development and validation of MMPI-2-RF scales for indexing triarchic psychopathy constructs. Assessment, 23, 527-543.
Tarescavage, A. M., Azizian, A. Broderick, C., & English, P. (2019). Associations between MMPI-2-RF Scale scores and institutional violence among patients detained under sexually violent predator laws. Psychological Assessment, 31(5), 707-713.
Tarescavage, A. M., Glassmire, D. M., & Burchett, D. (2018). Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2-Restructured Form markers of future suicidal behavior in a forensic psychiatric hospital. Psychological Assessment, 30, 170-178. doi: 10.1037/pas0000463.
Tarescavage, A. M., Glassmire, D. M., & Burchett, D. (2016). Introduction of a conceptual model for integrating the MMPI-2-RF into HCR-20V3 violence risk assessments and associations between the MMPI-2-RF and institutional violence. Law and Human Behavior, 40, 626-637.
Vines, L. M., Wygant, D. B., & Gervais, R. O. (2012). Empirically guided case conceptualization of posttraumatic stress disorder with the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 Restructured Form (MMPI-2-RF) in a forensic disability evaluation. Journal of Psychological Practice, 17, 180-205.

More guidance to be included in Sellbom, Wygant, Tarescavage, and Ben-Porath’s upcoming chapter entitled “Using the MMPI-3 in Forensic Psychological Assessments” in Clinical Forensic Psychology: Development, Psychopathology, and Treatment.

See here for more information on how I conduct these assessments: violence risk assessment, pre-hire public safety screening, workers compensation evaluations, personal injury evaluations, social security disability evaluations, VA compensation & pension evaluations, civil competencies, guardianship.