Demographic variables and the MMPI performance of black college students

No Thumbnail Available
Lee, Billie Louise, 1933-
Dunham, Morton D.
Issue Date
Thesis (D.Ed.)
Other Identifiers

The purposes of this study were to analyze and synthesize the research findings on the MMPI performance of blacks and to determine the relationship between demographic variables and the MMPI performance of black college students. A comprehensive review of the literature revealed that blacks and whites differ in MMPI performance, with blacks generally scoring higher than whites, especially on scales F, 8 and 9. Hypotheses about the reasons for these differences included greater psychopathology among blacks and racial differences in socioeconomic factors.The research findings did not support the first hypothesis. No association was found between black-white MMPI differences and greater psychopathology among black subjects. Factor studies of the items to which blacks and whites respond differently indicated that black-white NMPI differences reflect racial differences in values, perceptions and expectations, rather than racial differences in psychological adjustment. It was found that some MMPI scales do and others do not discriminate among levels and types of abnormality among blacks. However, it was found that the white-based MMPI norms are invalid for the assessment of blacks and black-based MMPI norms have not been developed. These findings suggest that the MMPI scales do not contain the most effective item combinations for efficient discrimination among blacks. The use of white MNPI norms to interpret the MMPI profiles of blacks was shown to have negative consequences for black individuals, the psychological professions, the scientific community, and the American society. Of several proposed solutions to this problem, the most effective seemed to be the use of the present MMPI item pool to construct and validate MMPI scales for the black population.The findings of some studies of deviant groups suggested that black-white MMPI differences and the MMPI scores of blacks may be associated with education and other socioeconomic factors. To test this hypothesis in a group of normal subjects, the MMPI and a demographic questionnaire were administered to 205 black females (n=126) and males (n=79) attending two predominantly black southern colleges. Canonical correlation analysis and multiple regression analysis were used to determine the relationships between 25 NMPI scale scores and 15 demographic variables. The highest levels of significance obtained were reported, and probabilities greater than .05 were considered nonsignificant. The following results were obtained: (a) The variance in MMPI scale scores was due primarily to sex and secondarily to geographic region of the students' present residence. (b) Sex accounted for 55 percent of the variance of scale 5 scores; and also influenced scores on scales 3, Es, 1 and Dy, accounting for 2 to 5 percent of the variance. (c) Females scored higher on scales 5, 3, 1 and Dy, and lower on Es than did males. (d) Geographic region accounted for 12 percent of the variance of scores on Es; and also influenced scores on scales 7, Dy, A, Pr, Ca, K, 2, 8, Re, 1 and 0, accounting for 3 to 6 percent of the variance. (e) Southern residents ncorol lower on scales K, Es and Re, and higher on scales 7, Dy, A, Pr, Ca, 2, 8, 1 and 0 than did nonsouthern residents. (f) Family size accounted for 4 to 5 percent of the variance of scores on scales 8, 7, A and St; education accountedfor 6 percent of the variance of scores on scale 3; and childhood residence accounted for 6 percent of the variance of scores on scale Ca. (g) Relationships between MMPI scores and age, income, urban-rural present residence, marital status, church membership, and church attendance accounted for less than 3 percent of scale score variance. (h) No relationship was found between MMPI scores and number of children, number of siblings, and preference for the dominant black religious denomination (Baptist).