Let's not get hysterical: comparing the MMPI-2 validity, clinical, and RC scales in TBI litigants tested for effort

Michael L Thomas, James R Youngjohn
Clinical Neuropsychologist 2009, 23 (6): 1067-84
The MMPI-2 restructured clinical (RC) scales replace the traditional clinical scales in the MMPI-2 restructured form (MMPI-2-RF). Few studies to date have examined the MMPI-2 RC scales in traumatic brain injury (TBI) litigants. We compared MMPI-2 validity, clinical, and RC scales profiles of 83 mild, complicated mild, and moderate/severe TBI litigants who were tested for effort. Past research shows that patients referred for neuropsychological evaluations with mild TBIs paradoxically have higher MMPI-2 clinical scale elevations than patients with moderate/severe TBIs. Failure on cognitive symptom validity tests (SVTs) has also been associated with elevated validity and clinical scales profiles. The "conversion V" (elevated Hs and Hy, followed by D) is the most frequent elevated profile configuration in mild TBI and/or SVT failure. We sought to determine if these patterns of symptom reporting would replicate on the RC scales profile. Archival data from independent neuropsychological examinations were used to correlate TBI severity, cognitive test effort as indicated by SVTs, and MMPI-2 profiles. Results suggest that the validity, clinical, and RC scales profiles all correlate well with indices of cognitive test effort (namely that failure on SVTs is correlated with elevated symptom reporting). In addition, the validity scales profile, but not the clinical or RC scales profiles, was significantly inversely related to TBI severity. Discriminant function analyses suggest that the MMPI-2 RC scales can aid in the diagnosis of over-reported TBI symptomatology. However, RC3-the RC equivalent of the Hy scale-no longer appears to serve as a marker of somatization and/or malingering.

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