Psychological tests. It helps us in some cases to verify the diagnosis of the doctor or therapist. Their role is to provide the most accurate information possible on the seriousness of the patient’s condition.
The question “Are you affected by an emotional disorder?” is not answered with YES or NO. The professional is to find out how much you are affected by the disorder. This is where psychological tests come in, giving us the most accurate information on your emotional state.
Numerous types of psychological tests have been carried out, which greatly help the doctor and therapist in determining the exact diagnosis.
Psychological tests are psychometric instruments used to obtain information about symptoms and pathology. The vast majority of these psychological tests are created and standardized on the clinical population, i.e. on patients.
The application of psychological tests helps to obtain a very large amount of factual information regarding the patient’s symptoms, without requiring any effort on the patient’s part. The data obtained allow the assessment of a wide range of behaviours. They also make the distinction between enduring personality characteristics and clinical disorders.
Here are some examples of psychological tests we apply in the clinic:
Psychological tests – MMPI®-2
Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory®-2
The flagship test of clinical and forensic psychology
The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is a standardized psychometric test of adult personality and psychopathology. Psychologists and other mental health professionals use different versions of MMPI psychological tests to help:
- developing treatment plans;
- assistance with differential diagnosis;
- answering legal questions (forensic psychology);
- selection of candidates during the staff selection process;
- part of a therapeutic assessment procedure
The original MMPI was developed by Starke R. Hathaway and J.C. McKinley, faculty of the University of Minnesota and first published by the University of Minnesota Press in 1943. It was replaced by an updated version, MMPI-2, in 1989 (Butcher, Dahlstrom, Graham, Tellegen and Kraemmer).
Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory®-2
It is the best known and most widely used tool for diagnosing and assessing adult personality and psychopathology in clinical and research settings. With 567 items it provides a finely detailed picture of the major patterns related to psychological and personality disorders in people over 18. Depending on the person involved, it takes between 60 and 90 minutes to complete. The MMPI-2 includes more than 120 specific scales, including scales designed to objectively capture profile validity.
It is designed to assess some of the major patterns related to psychological and personality disorders
The MMPI-2 version is the revised, improved and supplemented version with restructured clinical scales and symptom validity scale of the first version of the MMPI (the original version published in 1989).
The review includes:
- much more representative norms (samples of adults, men and women, from different geographical regions, different ethnicities and minorities);
- much more consistent format for clinical scale T-scores (uniform T-scores (UT) to produce essentially the same range and distribution for all scales);
- rewording items to remove ambiguity, sexist wording and outdated content;
- three validity scales – FB, VRIN and TRIN.
- evaluation of over 120 scales,
- their multitude of descriptors, covering a wide range of psychopathology,
- dense and impressive volume of theoretical issues and psychometric data,
- profile sheets assigned to each gender,
- correction grids, rules with and without K correction,
- it is based on 567 items.
Psychological tests – MACI
Millon Adolescent Clinical Inventory
Multiaxial assessment of personality characteristics and clinical syndromes in adolescents according to DSM-IV symptomatology
The Millon Adolescent Clinical Inventory (MACI) is a self-assessment inventory developed specifically for the assessment of personality characteristics and clinical syndromes to analyze mental disorders in adolescents. The MACI test was developed in collaboration with psychiatrists, psychologists and other specialists
mental health professionals with experience working with adolescents. They therefore reflect the issues most relevant to understanding adolescent behavior and concerns. It is very useful in clinical, institutional and correctional settings.
The inventory is aimed at teenagers (age 13-19) and requires a sixth-grade level understanding of the written word. The test is self-administered. The most of the teenagers finish completing the test within 25 minutes, which minimizes teenage resistance. Thus, this psychological test facilitates obtaining a maximum amount of information with a minimum of effort on the part of respondents.
Psychological tests – ABAS II
Adaptive Behavior Assessment System II
International standard in the assessment of disability and eligibility for social services
ABAS provides a comprehensive assessment, based on carefully collected norms, of people’s adaptive skills. This tool has a wide range of usefulness, applying from newborns up to the age of 89; it can be used for:
- assessing a person’s adaptive skills and ability to live independently,
- diagnosis and classification of certain disabilities or disorders,
- identifying strengths and limitations,
- helping document and monitor progress
it fully assesses the 10 areas of adaptive skills specified by the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Revised Edition (DSM-IV-TR) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA, 2000).
It also incorporates current guidelines offered by the American Association of Intellectual Disabilities (AAID) for assessing the three areas of adaptive behavior (Conceptual, Social, Practical).
The adaptive skills measured and the domains to which they belong correspond to the specifications identified by the American Association on Mental Retardation (AARM; 1992, 2002b). As measured by ABAS-II, adaptive skills are defined as: those practical everyday skills that are necessary for the person to function and to meet the demands of the environment, including the ability to effectively care for oneself independently and to interact with others.
Assessment of adaptive skills can provide important information for diagnosis and treatment or intervention planning for people with:
- developmental delays
- biological risk factors
- head trauma
- learning and behavioral disorders
- sensory impairment
- disabilities or physical trauma
- poor health
- motor impairment
- emotional disturbances
- brain damage
- substance use disorders
- psychotic disorders and multiple disabilities
Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment (ASEBA)
It includes a set of questionnaires to assess children’s and adolescents’ skills, adaptive functioning and problems in an easy and effective way.
Using ASEBA questionnaires, standardized data can be quickly obtained on a wide range of skills, adaptive behaviors and problems. Unlike the most standardized scales, ASEBA questionnaires allow for individualised descriptions and include open-ended questions that address strengths and concerns about the child’s behavior.
The ASEBA scales can be used to assess the adaptive functioning of children between 6 and 18 years of age and the following problem categories: Anxiety/Depression (I), Withdrawal/Depression (II), Somatic complaints (III), Social relationship problems (IV), Thinking problems (V), Attention problems (VI), Inattention, Hyperactivity/Impulsiveness, Rule-breaking behaviour (VII), Aggressive behavior (VIII). In terms of DSM criteria these problems cover the following disorders: affective disorders, anxiety disorders, somatic disorders, ADHD, oppositional defiant disorders, conduct disorders.
The Child Behaviour Scale for Parents (CBCL/6-18), the Self-Report Questionnaire (YSR) and the Teacher Self-Report Questionnaire (TRF) are parallel forms that facilitate comparison of different perspectives on children’s behavior. Since no single source can provide complete and accurate information on its own, a comprehensive assessment requires multiple sources.
Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – Fourth Edition – WISC-IV
Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – Fourth Edition. It is a clinical, individually administered instrument that assesses the cognitive ability of children aged 6 years 0 months to 16 years 11 months (6:0 – 16:11). Like other psychological tests, the WISC-IV scale provides composite scores that represent intellectual functioning in specific cognitive domains (e.g. Verbal Comprehension Index, Perceptual Reasoning Index, Working Memory Index, and Processing Speed Index), but also provides a composite score that represents the child’s overall intellectual ability (e.g. Total Intelligence Quotient).
Features and benefits of using WISC-IV:
It is the most studied measure of cognitive functioning in children
Appropriate assessment of Fluent Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Working Memory and Information Processing Speed,
Very good psychometric indicators
Romanian norms on a representative sample of 1100 children
Psychological tests – SCQ
Social Communication Questionnaire
The Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ) is the third component of the triad of psychological tests, internationally recognized as the “Golden Standard” for assessing autism. The other two are ADI-R and ADOS.
It was previously known as the Autism Screening Questionnaire (ASQ). This psychological test helps to assess the skills and social functioning of children who may have autism or other autism spectrum disorders. It is a questionnaire that can be completed by a parent or other guardian in less than 10 minutes. The SCQ is an effective way to determine whether or not a person should be included in a full diagnostic evaluation program.
The questionnaire can be used to assess anyone over the age of 4, as long as their mental age is over 2.
The questionnaire is available in two versions:
- Lifetime – linked to the Lifetime Assessment
- Current – related to the assessment of the current situation.
Both options can be administered directly to the parent, who can provide the answers without supervision.
Psychological Tests – (Bender-Gestalt II) Bender Visual-Motor Gestalt Test, Second Edition
Bender Gestalt II is a psychological test used by mental health practitioners to assess visual-motor functioning, developmental disorders and neurological impairments in subjects aged 3 to 85 years.
US norms on a representative sample of 4000 individuals.
For young children, the purpose of this test is to provide different ways of analyzing Bender recordings so that the examiner can assess their perceptual maturity, possible neurological disorders, and emotional adjustment from a single Bender test protocol. “To this end, for young children it is described in terms of development, assessment and application as a diagnostic tool in the evaluation of intelligence, academic achievement, brain injury, mental retardation and emotional disturbance.
The test consists of nine index cards representing different geometric patterns. The cards are presented individually, and test subjects are asked to rediscover each one from memory before the next card is displayed. The results of the psychological tests are evaluated based on the accuracy and organization of the reproductions. The Bender-Gestalt test was originally developed in 1938 by paediatric psychiatrist Lauretta Bender.
Psychological tests – Hand Test
The hand test is an adjunctive clinical technique that can be included alongside other psychological tests in the diagnostic battery as a projective test using images of the hands in ambiguous positions and expected to elicit responses with behavioral significance. It can be applied to subjects over 5 years of age.
The cards are presented one by one. It reviews projects by saying what you do. The answers are recorded verbally. Initial response time on the card and other relevant behavior are assumed. The hand test contains both quantitative and qualitative categories. Simple and easy to administer.
USE OF THE HAND TEST
The hand test measures visible behavior. Research has shown that HandTest scores are linked to excessive behavior among juvenile delinquents. The hand test can also measure behavior among people in the following categories: People with disabilities, People suffering from schizophrenia, People with mental disability.
The hand test can also predict productive performance in people with developmental delay, occupational orientation in normal environments, and withdrawal from reality in people with brain trauma compared to people without such trauma.
Psychological tests – The Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS)
There are plenty of psychological assessment tests that help diagnose autism available. One of them is the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS). It is a 15-item behavioral rating scale developed to identify children with autism (older than 2 years) and to differentiate them from non-autistic children with developmental disabilities. This scale can be used to distinguish between mild, moderate and severe autism.
CARS was developed by Eric Schopler, Robert Reichier and Barbara Rochen Renner. Like any autism assessment tool, it was made to help diagnose autism in children. The difference between CARS and other behavioral assessment tools is that it can distinguish whether your child has autism or other developmental delay disorders, such as mental retardation.
How does CARS work?
Unlike other psychological tests, it assesses your child’s behavior, characteristics and abilities against the expected growth of the typical child.
The following characteristics are assessed:
– Relationship with people
– Emotional response
– Body use
– Use of objects
– Adaptability to change
– Visual response
– Listening to the answer
– Taste-smell-touch response and use
– Fear and nervousness
– Verbal communication
– Nonverbal communication
– Level of activity
– Level and coherence of intellectual response
It is done by the psychologist or specialized psychotherapist by rating the child’s behaviors from 1 to 4, 1 being normal for your child’s age, 2 for mild abnormality, 3 for moderately abnormal and 4 for severe abnormality. Scores range from 15 to 60, with 30 being the benchmark rate for a diagnosis of mild autism. Scores 30-37 indicate mild to moderate autism, scores between 38 and 60 are characterized as severe autism. Note that while the Child Autism Rating Scale can be easily accessed on the internet, it is not recommended to use it to assess your child on your own.
It is still better to seek professional help in interpreting your child’s CARS result. You must remember that constant and firm observation of your child is important when filling the CARS test. The psychologist should be able to understand the criteria well so that the right results can be obtained. If there is any confusion, do not hesitate to ask the person responsible for the test. CARS is commonly used with children aged 2 years and over. Although CARS has been used in diagnosing adolescents as well, according to a study by the University of Texas Health Science Center.