A caution on the use of the MMPI K-correction in research on psychosomatic medicine.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The MMPI K scale is widely used to screen for invalid responses and to adjust substantive scale scores for defensiveness. In a normal volunteer sample, correlations of MMPI clinical scales and the Cook-Medley Hostility (HO) scale with self-reports and peer ratings on the NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI) were decreased rather than increased by K-correction. Similarly, in a medical sample, structured interview-based ratings of Potential for Hostility were better predicted by uncorrected HO scores than by K-corrected HO scores. Finally, in a prospective study of mortality among lawyers, uncorrected HO scores were a significant predictor of all-cause mortality; K-corrected scores were not. The data suggest that, under some circumstances, the K scale may measure substantive traits rather than defensiveness, and should be used and interpreted with caution. Its use is probably contraindicated for most research on psychiatrically normal subjects.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • McCrae, RR; Costa, PT; Dahlstrom, WG; Barefoot, JC; Siegler, IC; Williams, RB

Published Date

  • January 1989

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 51 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 58 - 65

PubMed ID

  • 2928461

Pubmed Central ID

  • 2928461

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0033-3174

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/00006842-198901000-00006


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States