The immaturity scale of the MMPI-A: An empirical study of its relationship to Loevinger's model of ego development, clinical utility, and correlation with external variables

Pamela Schneider, Pace University

Abstract

This study examined the relationship between the Immaturity (IMM) scale of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-Adolescent (MMPI-A) and Loevinger's model of ego development as measured by the Washington University Sentence Completion Test (WUSCT) (Form 81). The IMM scale was recently developed as a supplementary scale on the MMPI-A to evaluate the extent to which adolescents report attitudes, behaviors, and perceptions of self and others that reflect immaturity within the areas of impulse control, judgment, cognitive complexity, and self awareness (Butcher, Williams, Graham, Archer, Tellegen, Ben-Porath, & Kaemmer, 1992). Loevinger (1970) developed the WUSCT as a measure of ego development which she defines as the "master trait" in personality that involves impulse control, character, interpersonal relations, conscious preoccupations, and cognitive complexity. Previous research has found relationships between ego development and patterns of behavior, psychopathology, and clinical syndromes. This study also examined the relationship between the IMM scale and the WUSCT with six outcome measures thought to be related to preconformist levels of functioning. The outcome measures included the Externalizing Behavior Scale, the Aggressive Behavior Scale, and the Delinquent Behavior Scale from the Youth Self Report (YSR). The Borderline Tendency Scale (BDT) from the Millon Adolescent Clinical Inventory (MACI) was used as a measure of maladaptive functioning and chart reviews were conducted to assess for self-mutilation and running away. The sample consisted of 219 inpatient adolescents ranging from 13 through 18 years of age. The relationship between the IMM scale and the WUSCT was examined through kappa coefficients, analysis of variance, and point biserial correlation coefficients. Due to the nonlinear relationship between the measures, sensitivity and specificity values were thought to provide the best clinical indicator. In addition, two models of preconformist functioning based on the WUSCT were examined. In general, the IMM scale demonstrated poor sensitivity and good specificity. The IMM scale was not able to consistently identify preconformist adolescents as defined by the WUSCT; however, when it identified preconformist subjects it was likely that this identification was accurate. These findings were consistent with the general clinical interpretation approach and the MMPI-A model in which significant or elevated scores are interpreted to be within the clinical range. Examination of the WUSCT's relationship to external variables suggested that the WUSCT identified a range of preconformist subjects, including many individuals who did not display the behaviors encompassed by the outcome variables. The behaviors measured by the outcome variables are thought to be related to preconformist levels of ego development. The IMM scale identified preconformist subjects including a significantly higher proportion of individuals who engaged in these behaviors. The results indicated that the IMM scale was clearly more effective in the identification of high risk adolescents. The clinical utility and limitations of both instruments are discussed including applications for school-community psychologists. ^

Subject Area

Education, Guidance and Counseling|Psychology, Developmental|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Pamela Schneider, "The immaturity scale of the MMPI-A: An empirical study of its relationship to Loevinger's model of ego development, clinical utility, and correlation with external variables" (January 1, 1996). ETD Collection for Pace University. Paper AAI9708700.
http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/dissertations/AAI9708700

Share

COinS

Remote User: Click Here to Login (must have Pace University remote login ID and password. Once logged in, click on the View More link above)