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Psychological Testing of your Security Team or ARE YOUR SECURITY GUYS NUTS?

Posted by Charles "Chuck" Chadwick, Jr. on

Part of the requirements for our Gatekeeper state certified training in professional security is the passing of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. This is a psychological test to hopefully “find this individual to be in satisfactory emotional health to perform the duties of a personal protection officer.” 


This newsletter goes out to lots of churches and ministries all across America as well as our Gatekeeper churches. We all know that there are church security teams that are not “Security” licensed and have security teams composed of members that have concealed carry permits.


I submit that in addition to whatever training they are doing it would be a huge benefit to have every team member to have gone through this type of testing to weed out somebody that might have unseen issues that you don’t want to find out about later.


The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is the most widely used and researched clinical assessment tool used by mental health professionals to help diagnose mental health disorders.


Originally developed in the late 1930s, the test has been revised and updated several times to improve accuracy and validity. The MMPI-2 consists of 567 true-false questions and takes approximately 60 to 90 minutes to complete, while the MMPI-2-RF has 338 true-false questions, taking 35 to 50 minutes to finish.


It can be an effective tool to screen candidates for high-risk positions – particularly in industries such as aviation and public safety. Typically, this would apply to jobs within the police force, fire services, nuclear power plants or aviation.


The test is built around 10 different clinical scales


Scale 1 – Hypochondriasis (Hs)

Within this section, there are 32 questions that focus on how a candidate might perceive various complaints that relate to their health.


Scale 2 – Depression (D)

There are 57 questions in this section, which aim to evaluate whether the candidate is showing signs of clinical depression. This is indicated by signs that include hopelessness, low morale, or a general level of dissatisfaction with life.


Scale 3 – Hysteria (Hy)

Through a series of 60 questions, this section is designed to identify people who are overly emotional or display hysteria in stressful situations.


Scale 4 – Psychopathic Deviate (Pd)

Over a total of 50 questions that make up this section, candidates are questioned about issues that relate to social maladjustment, rebelliousness, and antisocial behavior. Candidates will be asked about issues they may have with family or authority figures.


Scale 5 – Masculinity/Femininity (Mf)

Through 56 questions, the Masculinity/Femininity scale explores how a candidate might conform to a masculine or feminine stereotype. It looks at activity-passivity, hobbies and career choices, and personal sensitivity.


Scale 6 – Paranoia (Pa)

This scale measures a candidate's ability or inability to trust others. Through 40 questions, candidates will be questioned on issues such as levels of suspiciousness, self-righteousness, and sensitivity. The method of questioning in this section will reveal any tendencies for paranoia or psychotic behavior.


Scale 7 – Psychasthenia (Pt)

The term ‘Psychasthenia’ has now been replaced by ‘Obsessive Compulsive Disorder’ (OCD). The test contains 48 questions which aim to evaluate the presence of certain obsessive tendencies as well as anxiety, fear, doubts and guilt.


Scale 8 – Schizophrenia (Sc)

The longest section in the test, candidates will need to progress through a total of 78 questions. During this section, candidates will be assessed for unusual cognitive, emotional, and social tendencies that might suggest schizophrenia.


Scale 9 – Hypomania (Ma)

This scale has 46 questions and measures a candidate for elevated energy levels and unstable moods. Candidates will be asked about things that would indicate excitability, such as rapid thoughts, accelerated speech or restless body movements. It also covers elements such as irritability, narcissism, or egocentricity.


Scale 10 – Social Introversion (Si)

The tenth and final category in the MMPI-2 test features 69 questions. The Social Introversion scale measures whether a candidate is comfortable around other people and in social situations. For example, introverts might be uncomfortable in large groups or over-stimulating social situations.


Validity Scales


All of the MMPI tests use validity scales of varying sorts to help assess the accuracy of each individual's answers. Since these tests can be used for circumstances like employment screenings and custody hearings, test takers may not be completely honest in their answers.


Validity scales can show how accurate the test is, as well as to what degree answers may have been distorted. The MMPI-2 uses the following scales.


The L Scale

Also referred to as the lie scale, this "uncommon virtues" validity scale was developed to detect attempts by individuals to present themselves in a favorable light.


People who score high on this scale deliberately try to present themselves in the most positive way possible, rejecting shortcomings or unfavorable characteristics.


The F Scale

This scale is used to detect attempts at overreporting. Essentially, people who score high on this scale are trying to appear worse than they really are, they may be in severe psychological distress, or they may be just randomly answering questions without paying attention to what the questions say.


This scale asks questions designed to determine if test-takers are contradicting themselves in their responses.


The K Scale

Sometimes referred to as the “defensiveness scale,” this scale is a more effective and less obvious way of detecting attempts to present oneself in the best possible way by underreporting.


People may underreport because they're worried about being judged or they may be minimizing their problems or denying that they have any problems at all.


The ? Scale

Also known as the “cannot say” scale, this validity scale assesses the number of items left unanswered. The MMPI manual recommends that any test with 30 or more unanswered questions be declared invalid.


TRIN Scale

The True Response Inconsistency Scale (TRIN) was developed to detect people who use fixed responding, a method of taking the test without regard to the question, such as marking ten questions "true," the next ten as "false," and so on.


Fixed responding could be used due to not being able to read or comprehend the test material well or being defiant about having to take the test. This section consists of 20 paired questions that are the opposite of each other.


VRIN Scale

The Variable Response Inconsistency Scale (VRIN) is another method developed to detect inconsistent, random responses. Like fixed responding, this can be intentional or it can be due to not understanding the material or not being able to read it.


The Fb Scale

This scale is designed to show changes in how a person responded in the first half of the test versus how he or she responded in the second half by using questions that most normal respondents didn't support.


High scores on this scale sometimes indicate that the respondent stopped paying attention and began answering questions randomly. It can also be due to over or underreporting, fixed responding, becoming tired, or being under severe stress.


The Fp Scale

This scale helps detect intentional overreporting in people who have a mental health disorder of some sort or who were using random or fixed responding.


The FBS Scale

The "symptom validity" scale is used for people who are taking the test because they're claiming that they had a personal injury or disability. This scale can help establish the credibility of the test taker.


The S Scale

The "superlative self-presentation" scale was developed in 1995 to look for additional underreporting. It also has sub-scales that assess the test taker's belief in human goodness, serenity, contentment with life, patience/denial of irritability, and denial of moral flaws.


Our Gatekeeper partner churches and ministries have all realized the benefit of our Gatekeeper program of which the MMPI (and subsequent evaluation by a licensed psychologist) is part.


This testing can be very expensive. Through special arrangements we are able to offer this service at a substantially discounted rate. If you think your church’s security team could benefit from this testing please let us help you. Call us at (214) 350-5616 or email .



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