Psychological testing and psychological assessment. A review of evidence and issues

Am Psychol. 2001 Feb;56(2):128-65.


This article summarizes evidence and issues associated with psychological assessment. Data from more than 125 meta-analyses on test validity and 800 samples examining multimethod assessment suggest 4 general conclusions: (a) Psychological test validity is strong and compelling, (b) psychological test validity is comparable to medical test validity, (c) distinct assessment methods provide unique sources of information, and (d) clinicians who rely exclusively on interviews are prone to incomplete understandings. Following principles for optimal nomothetic research, the authors suggest that a multimethod assessment battery provides a structured means for skilled clinicians to maximize the validity of individualized assessments. Future investigations should move beyond an examination of test scales to focus more on the role of psychologists who use tests as helpful tools to furnish patients and referral sources with professional consultation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential*
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Personality Assessment*
  • Psychological Tests*
  • Reproducibility of Results