Sensitivity of MMPI-2 Validity Scales to Random Responding and Malingering

Martha W. Wetter, Ruth A. Baer, David T.R. Berry, Gregory T. Smith, Lene H. Larsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


This study explored the effects of both random responding and malingering on the validity scales of the MMPI-2 in an analog design using 4 groups of college students. One group completed the entire answer sheet randomly, a second group was instructed to malinger a moderate psychological disturbance, a third group was asked to simulate a severe disturbance, and a fourth group was given standard test instructions. Results showed that MMPI-2 validity scales were sensitive to these response sets: Both random and malingered responses produced significant elevations on F and Fb, whereas only random responding led to significant elevations on VRIN. These results indicated that the source of an elevated F scale may be clarified by referring to VRIN, as VRIN was significantly elevated only in the random response group. Thus, a high F scale score combined with a high VRIN scale score strongly suggests the possibility of random responding. In addition, scores on both F-K and Ds2 (the items remaining from the MMPI Dissimulation scale) increased significantly as degree of simulated disturbance increased. Thus Ds2 appeared to have sufficient promise as a validity scale to merit further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-374
Number of pages6
JournalPsychological Assessment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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