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J Pers Assess. 2006 Oct;87(2):186-92.

The deconstruction of the Hy Scale of MMPI-2: failure of RC3 in measuring somatic symptom expression.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, N-218 EHH 3281, 75 East River Road, Minneapolis, 55455, USA. butch001@unm.edu

Abstract

The MMPI-2 (Butcher, Dahlstrom, Graham, Tellegen, & Kaemmer, 1989) Clinical Scales have a long history in psychological assessment. Recently, Tellegen et al. (2003) conducted a series of analyses to restructure the scales to reduce what they considered to be problems that limit scale functioning. In a critique of the Restructured Clinical (RC) Scales published in this issue, Nichols (2006/this issue) questions a number of aspects of the approach Tellegen et al. took including their theoretical assumptions, methods of analysis, and failures to report important information needed for scale evaluation such as relationships with existing scales. We concur with many points raised by Nichols. In our analysis of the performance of the RC3 scale, we found that it has "drifted" so far from the original Hy scale as to be a completely different measure- a scale of cynical attitudes that is already well represented in existing MMPI-2 measures. In this article, we take these concerns a step further and examine the history and construct validity of the Hy scale in evaluating the somatic expression of problems that the original authors (McKinley & Hathaway, 1944) intended. We also include new information from a medical setting, an application not represented in Tellegen et al.'s RC Scale monograph. In agreement with Rogers et al. (2006/this issue), it is our conclusion that some RC Scales do not represent the measurement domain of the original scales and should not be relied on for or used to refine traditional interpretation, particularly in medical or forensic situations (such as personal injury cases) because of their confusing and conflicting results.

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