Defensive responding on the MMPI-2 in pre-surgical candidates

Robert A. Ruchinskas, Christopher J. Combs, Kevin C. Riley, Donna K. Broshek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The MMPI-2 is frequently used for a variety of pre-surgical evaluations that can have life changing consequences for the patient being examined. While it intuitively makes sense that a proportion of examinees will attempt to downplay distress in order to avoid any perceived questions about their surgical candidacy, this hypothesis has received scant research attention. This study cluster analyzed the MMPI-2 L, F, & K validity scales for 890 pre-surgical candidates. Depending on the standard utilized, between one-third and two-thirds of our sample displayed some degree of defensive responding. These results suggest that traditional markers of test validity may need to be adjusted in populations with high base rates for defensiveness. The difficulty in ascribing personality characteristics based on validity scale scores and directions for further research are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-439
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006


  • Defensiveness
  • MMPI-2
  • Surgical evaluations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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