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MMPI Clinical Scale – How to Interpret your MMPI Test Results

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory MMPI-2 Clinical Scales

Assessment Score, Definitions and how to Interpret your MMPI-2 Test Results

Learning how to understand the MMPI Clinical Scales and the various meanings allow you to Intrepret your Results and define your Personality Type.  The following is a definition of meaning of the different scales and scores of an MMPI test result.  By understanding and being able to interpret the MMPI Clinical scale you will gain an understanding of how you might be able to improve your MMPT Test results and perhaps even yourself.

The following is a brief description of the MMPI clinical scale  taken from James N. Butcher, Ph.D. Department of Psychology University of Minnesota. This is by no means a complete assessment of the results and should be taken and used for educational purposes only. The MMPI Clinical Scales are a list of personality qualities that are ranked in a negative to positive score that allow you to Interpret your MMPI Test Results and determine your personality.

The descriptions for each scale include the characteristics typical of high scorers (and in some cases those of moderate, or low scorers), and you can generally, by ascertaining the opposite, obtain your low score qualities. Not all correlates/descriptors listed here will be applicable on an individual results, but the following will give you a basic idea of what each score means.

You can take the MMPI Online for free as many times as you wish for a month when you purchase the “Cheat Sheet to Appear Normal”


Names of the MMPI Clinical Scale Correlates

Scale 1: Hypochondriasis
Scale 2: Depression
Scale 3: Hysteria
Scale 4: Psychopathic Deviate
Scale 5: Masculinity–Femininity
Scale 6: Paranoia
Scale 7: Psychasthenia
Scale 8: Schizophrenia
Scale 9: Hypomania
Scale 0: Social Introversion

Definitions of the MMPI Clinical Scale to Interpret your MMPI Test Results and determine your Personality


MMPI Clinical Scale 1: Hypochondriasis

High Scorers: High scorers present excessive somatic symptoms that tend to be vague and undefined; for example, they may present epigastric complaints; fatigue, pain, weakness, and a lack of manifest anxiety. In addition, high scorers also show chronic personality features such as selfishness; self-centered and narcissistic behavior; and a pessimistic, defeatist, cynical outlook on life. They tend to be dissatisfied and unhappy and may make others miserable through their whining and complaining. They are often demanding and critical of others and may express hostility indirectly. They rarely act out. They show long-standing health concerns and function at a reduced level of efficiency without major incapacity. They tend not to be open to therapy since they seek only medical solutions to problems.

MMPI Clinical Scale 2: Depression

High Scorers: High scorers on Scale 2 are described as being depressed, unhappy, and dysphoric; being pessimistic and self-deprecating; feeling guilty; feeling sluggish; having somatic complaints; feeling weak, fatigued, and lacking energy; acting agithated, tense, high-strung, and irritable; being prone to worry; lacking self-confidence; feeling useless and unable to function; feeling like a failure at school or on the job; being introverted, shy, retiring, timid, and seclusive; acting aloof; being psychologically distant; avoiding interpersonal involvement; being cautious and conventional; having difficulty making decisions; being non aggressive; acting over controlled, denying impulses; and making concessions to avoid conflict. They tend to be motivated to seek therapy because of their distress.

MMPI Clinical Scale 3: Hysteria

High Scorers: High scorers tend to react to stress and avoid responsibility through development of physical symptoms such as having headaches, chest pains, weakness, and tachycardia. Their symptoms often appear and disappear suddenly. These individuals tend to lack insight about causes of symptoms and their own motives and feelings. They tend to lack anxiety, tension, and depression and rarely report delusions, hallucinations, or suspiciousness. They are viewed as psychologically immature, childish, and infantile; self-centered, narcissistic, and egocentric; attention-seeking and needing great affection from others. They tend to use indirect and devious means to get attention and affection. They are usually socially involved, friendly, talkative, and enthusiastic but superficial and immature in interpersonal relationships. They might be initially enthusiastic about treatment and may respond well to direct advice or suggestion, but show slow progress in gaining insight into the causes of their own behavior. They tend to be resistant to psychological interpretations. High Hy scores have been found to be associated with chronic pain and with compensation claims.

MMPI Clinical Scale 4: Psychopathic Deviate

High Scorers: High scorers are found to engage in antisocial behavior and are rebellious toward authority figures. They show stormy family relationships and usually blame others for their problems. They show a history of under achievement in school and a poor work history and may have marital problems. They are considered to be impulsive, and they strive for immediate gratification of impulses. They do not plan well and act without considering the consequences of their actions. They show impatience, limited frustration tolerance, poor judgment, and high risk-taking. They do not appear to profit from experience. They are immature, childish, narcissistic, self-centered, and selfish. Their behavior is often described as ostentatious, exhibitionist, and insensitive. They tend to be interested in others in terms of how they can be used. They are often thought to be likeable and usually create a good first impression but are shallow and superficial in relationships and unable to form warm attachments. They are described as extroverted, outgoing, talkative, active, energetic, spontaneous, intelligent, self-confident, hostile, aggressive, sarcastic, cynical, resentful, and rebellious. They tend to act out and have antagonistic behavior and aggressive outbursts. Some are assaultive and may show little guilt over negative behavior.

MMPI Clinical Scale 5: Masculinity–Femininity


High (T-score > 80): Men who attain high scores on this scale show conflict about sexual identity. They are insecure in their masculine role; are effeminate; have aesthetic and artistic interests; are intelligent and capable; value cognitive pursuits; are ambitious, competitive, and persevering; are clever, clear-thinking, organized, and logical; and show good judgment and common sense. They are curious; creative, imaginative, and individualistic in their approach to problems; sociable; sensitive to others; tolerant; capable of expressing warm feelings toward others; and passive, dependent, submissive, and peace-loving. They make concessions to avoid confrontations. They have good self-control and they rarely act out.

High Scorers (T-score 70–79): Males in this range on the Masculinity-Femininity scale may be viewed as sensitive, insightful, tolerant, effeminate, broad in cultural interests, submissive, and passive. (In clinical settings, the patient might show sex role confusion or heterosexual adjustment problems.)

Low Scorers (T-score < 35): Men who score low on this scale are often viewed as having a “macho” self-image. They present themselves as extremely masculine; strong and physically adept, aggressive, thrill-seeking, adventurous, and reckless; coarse, crude, and vulgar; and doubtful about their own masculinity. They have a narrow range of interests, an inflexible and unoriginal approach to problems, and seem to prefer action to thought.


High Scorers (T-score > 70): Females who score high on this scale tend to reject traditional female roles and activities. They show masculine interests in work, sports, and hobbies. They are described as active, vigorous, and assertive; competitive, aggressive, and dominating; coarse, rough, and tough; outgoing, uninhibited, and self-confident; easy-going, relaxed, and balanced; logical and calculated; and unemotional and unfriendly.

Low Scorers (T-score < 35): These women describe themselves in terms of the stereotyped female role and show doubts about their own femininity. They tend to be passive, submissive, and yielding in relationships. They defer to males in decision-making. They may show self-pity through complaining and/or fault-finding. They are seen as constricted, sensitive, modest, and idealistic.

MMPI Clinical Scale 6: Paranoia

Extremely High Elevations (T-score > 80): High scorers may show frankly psychotic behavior, disturbed thinking, delusions of persecution and/or grandeur, and ideas of reference. They feel mistreated and picked on and angry and resentful. They harbor grudges, use projection as a defense, and are most frequently diagnosed as schizophrenic or paranoid.

Moderate Elevations (T-score = 65–79 for males; T-score = 71–79 for females): In this range, individuals show a paranoid predisposition. They are sensitive and overly responsive to reactions of others, they feel they are getting a raw deal from life, and they rationalize and blame others. These individuals are likely to be suspicious and guarded, hostile, resentful, and argumentative. They tend to be moralistic and rigid, and they overemphasize rationality. They are poor therapy risks because they do not like to talk about emotional problems and have difficulty in establishing rapport with therapists.

Extremely Low Scorers (T-score < 35): In some settings, low paranoia scores (in the context of a defensive response set) may suggest potentially psychotic disorders such as delusions, suspiciousness, ideas of reference, and symptoms less obvious than high scorers. They are evasive, defensive, guarded, shy, secretive, and withdrawn. This interpretation should be made only with great caution.

MMPI Clinical Scale 7: Psychasthenia

High Scorers: High scores on this scale suggest anxious, tense, and agitated behavior. High scorers show high discomfort and are worried and apprehensive, high strung and jumpy, and have difficulties in concentrating. They are overly ruminative, obsessive, and compulsive. They feel insecure and inferior; lack self-confidence; and are self-doubting, self-critical, self-conscious, and self-derogatory. They are rigid and moralistic; maintain high standards for self and others; are overly perfectionist and conscientious; and are guilty and depressed. They are neat, orderly, organized, meticulous, persistent, and reliable. They lack ingenuity and originality in problem-solving, are dull and formal, are vacillating and indecisive, distort importance of problems, overreact, are shy, do not interact well socially, are hard to get to know and worry about popularity and acceptance. They are sensitive and have physical complaints, show some insight into problems, intellectualize and rationalize, are resistant to interpretations in therapy, express hostility toward therapist, remain in therapy longer than most patients, and make slow but steady progress in therapy

MMPI Clinical Scale 8: Schizophrenia

Very High Scorers (T-score > 79): Very high scores suggest blatantly psychotic behavior including confusion, disorganization, and disoriented behavior. Unusual thoughts or attitudes, delusions, hallucinations, and poor judgment are likely to be present.

High Scorers (T-score = 65–79): High scores on this scale suggest a schizoid lifestyle. They do not feel a part of a social environment. They report feeling isolated, alienated, and misunderstood. They feel unaccepted by peers, withdrawn, seclusive, secretive, and inaccessible. They avoid dealing with people and new situations. They are shy, aloof, and uninvolved and experience generalized anxiety. They are often resentful, hostile, aggressive, and unable to express feelings. They tend to react to stress by withdrawing into fantasy and daydreams. They have difficulty separating reality and fantasy. They show great self-doubts and feel inferior, incompetent, and dissatisfied. They may show marked sexual preoccupation and sex role confusion. They are often seen as nonconforming, unusual, unconventional, and eccentric. They may report vague, long-standing physical complaints. Others view them as stubborn, moody, opinionated, immature, and impulsive. They tend to lack information for problem-solving and show a poor prognosis for therapy.

MMPI Clinical Scale 9: Hypomania

High Scorers (T-score > 80): Very high scorers on this scale show over activity and accelerated speech. They may have hallucinations or delusions of grandeur. They tend to be very energetic and talkative, prefer action to thought, show a wide range of interest, and do not utilize energy wisely. They do not see projects through to completion. They show little interest in routine or detail and become easily bored and restless. They have a low frustration tolerance and difficulty in inhibiting expression of impulses. They have episodes of irritability, hostility, and aggressive outbursts and are often seen as possessing unrealistic, unqualified optimism and grandiose aspirations. They tend to exaggerate self-worth and self-importance and are unable to see their own limitations. They are viewed as outgoing, sociable, and gregarious. They like to be around other people; create good first impressions; and are friendly, pleasant, and enthusiastic; however, their relationships are likely to be superficial. They tend to be manipulative, deceptive and unreliable. They may be agitated and may have periodic episodes of depression.

Moderately elevated scorers (T = 65 – 79): Moderate scorers show over activity and an exaggerated sense of self-worth. They are energetic and talkative, prefer action to thought, and have a wide range of interests. They do not utilize energy wisely and do not see projects through to completion. They are enterprising and ingenious and lack interest in routine matters. They easily become bored and restless and have a low frustration tolerance. They are impulsive and have episodes of irritability, hostility, and aggressive outbursts. They are unrealistic and overly optimistic at times. They show some grandiose aspirations and are unable to see their own limitations. They are outgoing, sociable, and gregarious. They like to be around other people. They create good first impressions and are friendly, pleasant, enthusiastic, poised, and self-confident. They have superficial relationships and are manipulative, deceptive, and unreliable. They have feelings of dissatisfaction and agitation, and they view therapy as unnecessary. They are resistant to interpretations in therapy and attend therapy irregularly. They may terminate therapy prematurely and repeat problems in a stereotyped manner.

MMPI Clinical Scale 0: Social Introversion

High Scorers (T-score > 65): High scorers on this scale are socially introverted people who are more comfortable alone or with a few close friends. They are reserved, shy, and retiring; serious; uncomfortable around members of the opposite sex; hard to get to know; sensitive to what others think; troubled by lack of involvement with other people; overcontrolled; not likely to display feelings openly; submissive and compliant; and overly accepting of authority. They have a slow personal tempo and they are reliable, dependable, cautious, and conventional and have unoriginal approaches to problems. They are rigid and inflexible in attitudes and opinions, and they have difficulty making even minor decisions.

Low Scorers (T-score < 45): Low scorers on this scale tend to be sociable and extroverted as well as outgoing, gregarious, friendly and talkative. These people have a strong need to be around other people; they mix well and are intelligent, expressive, verbally fluent, and active as well as energetic, vigorous, and interested in status, power and recognition. They seek out competitive situations, have problems with impulse control, and act without considering the consequences of actions. They are immature, self-indulgent and superficial, and have insincere relationships. They are manipulative and opportunistic and arouse resentment and hostility in others.

The Condition Names and Codes of the MMPI-2 Content Scales

Anxiety (ANX)
Fears (FRS)
Obsessiveness (OBS)
Depression (DEP)
Health Concerns (HEA)
Bizarre Menthation (BIZ)
Anger (ANG)
Cynicism (CYN)
Antisocial Practices (ASP)
Type A (TPA)
Low Self-Esteem (LSE)
Social Discomfort (SOD)
Family Problems (FAM)
Work Interference (WRK)
Negative Treatment Indicators (TRT)
Guidelines for Interpreting Addiction Potential Indicators MAC-R (MacAndrew Alcoholism–Revised)
Scale APS (Addiction Potential Scale)
AAS (Addiction Admission Scale)
The Personality Psychopathology Five (PSY-5) Scales
Aggressiveness (AGGR)
Psychoticism (PSYC)
Disconstraint (DISC)
Negative Emotionality (NEGE)
Introversion/Low Positive Emotionality (INTR)


Description of the MMPI-2 Content Scales

The following is a brief description of the characteristics typical of high scorers for each of the MMPI-2 Content Scales. People with a low score in these areas can assume the opposite of the descriptions. Therapy suggestions of the Hypnosis on this site are offered for consideration as a treatment modality to any clinical qualities you might discover about yourself.

Anxiety (ANX):
High scoring individuals on this scale report general symptoms of anxiety including tension, somatic problems, sleep difficulties, worries, and poor concentration. They fear losing their minds, find life to be a strain, and have difficulty making decisions. They appear to be readily aware of these symptoms and problems and are willing to admit to them.

Fears (FRS):
A high score on FRS suggests an individual with many specific fears. These specific fears can include blood; high places; money; animals such as snakes, mice, or spiders; leaving home; fire; storms and natural disasters; water; the dark; being indoors; and dirt.

Obsessiveness (OBS):
High scorers on OBS have great difficulties making decisions. They are likely to ruminate excessively about issues and problems, causing others to become impatient. They do not like to make changes, and they may report some compulsive behaviors like counting or saving unimportant things. They worry excessively and frequently become overwhelmed by their own thoughts.

Depression (DEP):
High scores on DEP indicate individuals with significant depressive thoughts. They report feeling blue, uncertain about their future, and uninterested in their lives. They are likely to brood, be unhappy, cry easily, and feel hopeless and empty. They may report thoughts of suicide or wishes that they were dead. They may believe that they are condemned or that they have committed unpardonable sins. Other people may not be viewed as a source of support.

Health Concerns (HEA):
Individuals with high scores on this scale show many physical symptoms across several body systems. Included are gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., constipation, nausea and vomiting, and stomach trouble), neurological problems (e.g., convulsions, dizziness and fainting spells, and paralysis), sensory problems, cardiovascular symptoms (e.g., heart or chest pains), skin problems, pain, and respiratory troubles. They worry about their health and feel sicker than most people.

Bizarre Menthation (BIZ):
Psychotic thought processes characterize people who score high on the BIZ scale. They may report auditory, visual, or olfactory hallucinations and may recognize that their thoughts are strange and peculiar. Paranoid ideation (e.g., the belief that they are being plotted against or that someone is trying to poison them) may be reported as well. These individuals may feel that they have a special mission or powers.

Anger (ANG):
Individuals who score high on the ANG scale report problems in anger control. These individuals report being irritable, grouchy, impatient, hotheaded, annoyed, and stubborn. They sometimes feel like swearing or smashing things. They may lose control and report having been physically abusive towards people and objects.

Cynicism (CYN):
High scores on CYN are associated with misanthropic beliefs. These individuals expect hidden, negative motives behind the acts of others (e.g., believing that most people are honest simply for fear of being caught). They believe other people are to be distrusted, for people use each other and are only friendly for selfish reasons. They likely hold negative attitudes about those close to them, including fellow workers, family, and friends.

Antisocial Practices (ASP):
In addition to holding misanthropic attitudes like the high scorers on the CYN scale, individuals who score high on the ASP scale report problem behaviors during their school years and other antisocial practices such as being in trouble with the law, stealing, or shoplifting. They acknowledge sometimes enjoying the antics of criminals and believe that it is acceptable to get around the law, as long as it is not broken.

Type A (TPA):
People who score high on TPA report being hard-driving, fast-moving, and work-oriented individuals who frequently become impatient, irritable, and annoyed. They do not like to wait or to be interrupted. There is never enough time for them to complete their tasks. They are direct and may be overbearing in their relationships with others.

Low Self-Esteem (LSE):
High scores on LSE suggest that these individuals have low opinions of themselves. They do not feel important or liked by others. They hold many negative attitudes about themselves, including beliefs that they are unattractive, awkward and clumsy, useless, and a burden to others. They lack self-confidence and find it hard to accept compliments from others. They may be overwhelmed by all the faults they see in themselves.

Social Discomfort (SOD):
People who score high on SOD are very uneasy around others, preferring to be by themselves. In social situations, they are likely to sit alone rather than joining the group. They see themselves as shy and they dislike parties and other group events.

Family Problems (FAM):
Family discord is reflected in high scores on FAM. High scorers describe their families as loveless, quarrelsome, and unpleasant. They even may report hating family members. They portray their childhood as abusive, and marriages are seen as unhappy and lacking in affection.

Work Interference (WRK):
Those who score high on WRK report behaviors or attitudes likely to contribute to poor work performance. Some of the problems relate to low self-confidence, concentration difficulties, obsessiveness, tension and pressure, and decision-making problems. Others suggest lack of family support for their career choice, personal questioning of career choice, and negative attitudes towards co-workers.

Negative Treatment Indicators (TRT):
High scores on TRT indicate individuals who have negative attitudes toward doctors and mental health treatment. High scorers do not believe that anyone can understand or help them. They have issues or problems that they are not comfortable discussing with anyone. They may not want to change anything in their lives, nor do they feel that change is possible. They prefer giving up rather than facing a crisis or difficulty.

Description of the PSY-5 Scales

The Personality Psychopathology Five (PSY-5) Scales Harkness, McNulty, Ben-Porath, and Graham (2002) described the Psychopathology Five (PSY-5) scales for the MMPI-2. The selection of the PSY-5 constructs was based on research to determine how lay people classified or discriminated personality characteristics or personality problems (Harkness, 1992). The items used in the initial analyses were derived from the selective diagnostic criteria from the DSM-III-R, from personality disorders as described by Cleckley (1982) as a means of describing severe personality disorders, psychopaths, and 26 clusters were developed from the primary factors of Tellegen s MPQ. These initial clusters contained items that were found to measure five distinct personality dimensions. These measures were then refined to be assessed by items on the MMPI-2 in order to address the following characteristics as noted by Harkness et al.:

Aggressiveness (AGGR):
This scale measures offensive and instrumental aggression and not reactive aggression. Individuals high on this scale tend to intimidate others and use aggression as a means of accomplishing their goals. PSY-5 high AGGR scorers show characteristics of dominance and hate.

Psychoticism (PSYC):
This scale assesses mental disconnection from reality and focuses upon unusual sensory and perceptual experiences, delusional beliefs, and other odd behaviors. Alienation and unrealistic expectations of harm is also characteristic of persons high on this scale. People with high PSYC scores tend to have a higher probability of experiencing delusions of reference, disorganized thinking, bizarre behavior, and disoriented, circumstantial, or tangential thought processes. In patients with high scores on PSYC have been found to be more likely to be diagnosed as being psychotic for example showing paranoid suspiciousness, ideas of reference, loosening of associations, hallucination, or flight of ideas.

Disconstraint (DISC):
Persons high on this scale show (a) higher levels of physical risk-taking, (b) have a style characterized more by impulsivity than control, and (c) are less bound by traditional moral constraints. High scorers tend to have difficulty “creating mental models of the future that contain negative emotional cues, that is, do not seem to learn from punishing experiences.” They tend to be high risk-takers and show an impulsive and less traditional life style. They tend to be easily bored with routine.

Negative Emotionality/Neuroticism (NEGE):
This scale focuses on problematic features of processing incoming information, for example, to worry, to be self-critical, to feel guilty, and to develop worst-case scenarios are common features. Introversion/Low Positive Emotionality (INTR): High scorers show little capacity to experience joy and positive engagement. They have low “hedonic capacity.” They tend to be introverted and depressed.

Guidelines for Interpreting Addiction Potential Indicators

The MAC-R, APS, and AAS addiction scales can be used together to more effectively identify substance abusers from normal individuals than any of the scales alone. The APS operates in a manner similar to the MAC-R Scale in that it assesses lifestyle problems and characteristics associated with the development of habit disorders such as alcohol and drug use or abuse. Individuals endorsing the behaviors assessed by these scales show a strong tendency to develop negative habits even though they may not, at present, be alcoholics or drug abusers. A low score on the AAS takes on special meaning in the context of known alcohol or drug problems or when the individual has a very high score on the APS or the MAC-R. If substance abuse problems are likely and awareness or acknowledgment of the problems is low, the individual’s motive in the assessment is questioned.

The following is a brief description of the interpretive potential for each of the three addiction scales.

MAC-R (MacAndrew Alcoholism-Revised) Scale:
This measure is a 49-item scale developed with the original MMPI to distinguish alcoholic psychiatric patients from nonalcoholic psychiatric patients. A high MAC-R Scale score is associated with substance abuse potential and other addictive problems such as pathological gambling. A T score cutoff of 60 on the MAC-R Scale is suggestive of high addiction potential. The scale was constructed empirically, using methods similar to those employed in the construction of the APS discussed below.

APS (Addiction Potential Scale):
The Addiction Potential Scale was developed as a measure of the personality characteristics and life situations associated with substance abuse. Research data for this purpose were obtained from three large samples collected as part of the MMPI Restandardization Project: the MMPI-2 normative sample, a sample of psychiatric inpatient, and a sample of inpatient residents of a substance-abuse treatment program. Every MMPI-2 item was examined for its potential to improve discrimination over the original MMPI items. A total of 39 items comprise the Addiction Potential Scale.

AAS (Addiction Acknowledgment Scale):
The development of the AAS began with a rational search through the MMPI-2 item pool for items with content indicating substance-abuse problems. Fourteen such items were found. Items not contributing to internal consistency were dropped and replaced by two items that improved scale internal consistency. The Addiction Acknowledgment Scale is made up of 13 items. Research has shown that both the APS and the AAS discriminate well between substance abuse samples and samples of either psychiatric patients or normals. In addition they discriminate between samples considerably more effectively than MAC-R.

The AAS assesses the frank acknowledgment of alcohol or drug abuse problems. Individuals who obtain elevations on this scale are acknowledging problems with alcohol or drug use. A T-score of 60 or higher reflects an awareness of their substance use or abuse problems and their openness to discussing their problems. Low scores on the AAS can mean one of two things: either there is no substance abuse problem or the individual is denying such problems.You can take the MMPI Online for free as many times as you wish for a month when you purchase the “Cheat Sheet to Appear Normal”

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