MMPI-A Basic Clinical Scale and Codetype Correlates for Adolescents
As noted in previous chapters, adolescent MMPI-A responses should be interpreted exclusively through the use of age-appropriate adolescent norms. The conclusion that adolescent norm conversion is the most appropriate means of interpreting adolescent responses does not imply that such a procedure renders the evaluation of MMPI-A profiles to be either simple or straightforward. The most important difficulties that occur when interpreting adolescent responses scored on adolescent norms is that resulting profiles typically produce subclinical elevations, even for adolescents in inpatient psychiatric settings if a T-score value ≥ 65 is employed as the criterion for determining clinical range elevation. The inherent contradiction in interpreting a normal-range profile for an adolescent who exhibits evidence of serious psychopathology probably contributed to the inappropriate but widespread practice of using adult norms for adolescents on the original form of the MMPI. Thus, just as the application of adult norms to adolescent patterns tends to produce profiles that grossly overemphasize or exaggerate psychiatric symptomatology, so the application of adolescent norms, either on the original form of the MMPI or the MMPI-A, produces profiles that may often appear to underestimate an adolescent’s psychopathology.