Empirical vs. factorial validity in personality inventories: The MMPI-2 and the restructured RC scales
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Empirical vs. theorical-factorial psychometric strategy; MMPI; MMPI-2; MMPI-2-RF; MMPI-3; Psychopathological clinical scales; Psychiatric diagnostic label versus identification marker; RC scales; MMPI-2 clinical scales covariation; Discrimination function analysis; Guttman facet theory.
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Since 2003, several American publications have appeared on "Restructured Clinical Scales RC". These scales were constructed in contradiction with the empirical psychometric strategy adopted from the outset for the MMPI (1943) and MMPI-2 (1989). Rather, the RC scales are based on a theory-factor strategy, which long-time MMPI/MMPI-2 experts disavow because it does not fulfill its promise of validity. In 2003, the RC scales (Tellegen et al., 2003) were first arbitrarily grafted to the set of empirical MMPI-2 scales. Then, in 2008 (see Tellegen and Ben-Porath), they were instead integrated as an asset to a brand-new instrument based on factor analysis, called MMPI-2-RF on the sole basis of borrowing 338 of the 567 items of the MMPI-2. The background to this article is therefore the possible adulteration of the most important personality test used in forensic expertise and in clinical contexts. Our goal is to review both the psychometric foundations of the MMPI-2 and the value of these RC scales (Tellegen et al., 2003) in the now open confrontation with the MMPI-2.