The Impact of Exposure to Internet-Based Information About the Rorschach and the MMPI–2 on Psychiatric Outpatients’ Ability to Simulate Mentally Healthy Test Performance

To examine the impact of Internet-based information about how to simulate being mentally healthy on the Rorschach and the MMPI–2, 87 psychiatric outpatients completed the tests under 4 conditions: uncoached and Internet-coached outpatients under faking healthy instructions (faking patients and Internet-faking patients) and patients and nonpatients under standard instructions (standard patients and standard nonpatients).

Abstract

To examine the impact of Internet-based information about how to simulate being mentally healthy on the Rorschach (Exner, 2003) and the MMPI–2 (Butcher, Dahlstrom, Graham, Tellegen, & Kaemmer, 1989), 87 psychiatric outpatients completed the tests under 4 conditions: uncoached and Internet-coached outpatients under faking healthy instructions (faking patients and Internet-faking patients) and patients and nonpatients under standard instructions (standard patients and standard nonpatients). On the Rorschach, faking patients and Internet-faking patients did not manage to portray healthy test performance and, like standard patients, revealed a significantly greater number of perceptual and cognitive disturbances than standard nonpatients. Faking patients scored in the psychopathological direction on most variables. Internet-faking patients produced constricted protocols with significantly higher F% (57%) and lower use of provoking and aggressive contents than the other groups. On the MMPI–2, faking patients and Internet-faking patients were able to conceal symptoms and, like standard nonpatients, scored in the normal range on the clinical scales. The validity scale L successfully detected the faking patients and the Internet-faking patients, whereas the F scale only distinguished the Internet-faking patients and K only the faking patients. We conclude that Internet-based information could threaten test validity.

Journal of Personality Assessment, 2014, 96 (4), 432-444

Published Aug. 11, 2014 8:00 AM - Last modified Sep. 3, 2015 1:44 PM