Psycho-test for magistrates, psychiatrist Bondi: “This brings hidden pathologies to the surface”

Psycho-test for magistrates, psychiatrist Bondi: “This brings hidden pathologies to the surface”


A psychological test to be submitted to magistrates? It could also be effective, but in general terms. Like the questions on the same test, from the name Minnesota: some even trivial, others characteristics of certain problems based on clinical standardization. The purpose? Probe the psychological aspect of a person. Even a magistrate, evidently, according to whoever proposed it. But it is not enough, in the sense that, if alterations compared to the norm were highlighted, then more specific tools would have to be used. He explains it Emi Bondipresident of the Italian Society of Psychiatrywith all the necessary precautions.

“A general test”

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, or Mmpi, which could be administered to magistrates, according to the legislative decree approved on March 26 by the Council of Ministers, is a widely used tool. The policemen, or soldiers, who have to face it at the beginning of their careers know something about it. Which Bondi underlines.

“We are talking about one of the most widespread and well-known tests, used both at the level of clinical practice and for psychological screening – explains Bondi -. A test that is more than 100 years old, created in 1942, in the United States, and then revised in the 1990s to adapt answers and questions to the needs of the time”.

“It exposes our psychological profile”

What is it for and why is it so widespread? “Because it is a general test that allows us to understand the psychological aspect of an individual, his general characteristics: if there are deviations towards general clinical scales, i.e. pathologies such as depression, hypochondria, schizophrenia. Obviously pathologies which, if they emerge, they must be investigated in depth in a psychiatric setting”, explains Bondi.

Therefore, the applications of the Minnesota system, as well as work, are often psychiatric: the test is used to highlight psychological problems ranging from depression to hypochondria, from the risk of addictions.

Three elements of evaluation

There are three rating scales in use in the Minnesota test. “They are ‘lies’, ‘excessive emotional control and ‘atypia of the response’: they allow you to check whether the person has answered sincerely – confirms the psychiatrist -. The test asks questions, some trivial and others characteristics of certain problems, on the basis of a clinical standardization. In this way it is possible to see whether the interested party presents alterations compared to the norm. And how many: whether two or three together. He can be paranoid or suspicious to the point of having real pathological personalities, which however must be validated with more specific tools”.

There are 567 test statements that are answered “true” or “false”. Phrases such as: “I like mechanics magazines”; “My father is a good person, or (if his father is dead) my father was a good person”, to “I can only express my true feelings when I drink” and “I have often wished I were of the opposite sex at my”.

“Since questions are asked in a certain way, in the sense that they are proposed again within the test with a different wording, it is possible to understand whether the person has responded in a coherent way – underlines Bondi -. We are therefore not talking about a test that makes a psychiatric diagnosis because in that case other scales and the clinical interview would be used, but a test that provides a general orientation as to whether the person is normal in terms of emotionality and ability to relate to others, or whether, on the contrary, he or she presents some pathology “.

Validity scales

Therefore the rating scales Minnesota refers to are linked to lying, excessive emotional control and response atypia. And for all three there are scores that make the test result invalid. Three scales included among the ten clinics, for each of which there is a score beyond which the threshold of attention is exceeded. They are: 1- Hypochondria; 2- Depression; 3- Hysteria; 4- Deviation; Psychopath; 5- Masculinity/Femininity; 6- Pranoia); 7- Psychoasthenia; – Schizophrenia; 9- Hypomania; 10- Social introversion.

“Based on the score of each clinical scale, the presence or absence of specific symptoms and the possible correlation with particular psychiatric syndromes can be assessed – concludes Bondi -. And obviously everything can be re-evaluated with a clinical examination and anamnestic support”.


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