Extreme MMPI scores and the Research Diagnostic Criteria. Screening college men for psychopathology

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1979 May;36(5):528-34. 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.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • MMPI*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / classification
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales*
  • Psychometrics
  • Research Design
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis
  • Students