Readministration of the MMPI-2 Following Defensive Invalidation in a Military Job Applicant Sample

Document Type


Publication Date



Job applicants whose response style on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2; Butcher, Dahlstrom, Graham, Tellegen, & Kaemmer) is excessively defensive create a dilemma for psychologists working in personnel selection settings. Clinical guidelines recommend the profile be considered uninterpretable, but the absence of usable testing data could lead to the elimination of otherwise qualified candidates. Readministering the MMPI-2 with altered instructions to reduce defensive responding has been suggested as an alternative. This option has lacked empirical support until recently. One study (Butcher, Morfitt, Rouse, & Holden, 1997) evaluated the effects of altered instructions on retest validity in a civilian job applicant sample, with the majority of participants obtaining valid and normal profiles on retest. The purpose of this study was to determine if these results would be replicated in a military job applicant sample. Participants were 97 military personnel who completed the MMPI-2 as part of application for selection to instructor duty. Forty-seven participants had obtained invalid profiles and retook the MMPI-2 after receiving instructions intended to reduce defensiveness. The results showed that 83% of retested participants obtained valid profiles on the second MMPI-2. The second test results were very similar in profile to those obtained from a comparison group of 50 participants whose initial MMPI-2 results were valid. The findings are discussed in terms of study limitations and future research directions.

Find in your library

Off-Campus WSU Users