More on Validity Scales

The issue of validity scales and their use in psychological assessments, especially in situations where “situational demands” are intense (e.g., child custody, child welfare, employee selection) has really gotten my attention. Here is a proposal we are submitting for a presentation next March in Boston.

Symposium Proposal–Society for Personality Assessment Annual Meeting–Boston, MA March 2011

 Symposium Title: “Are Validity Scales Necessary and Are Existing Ones Cost-Effective?”

Presenters: Marvin W. Acklin, PhD (Chair and discussant), Independent Practice, Honolulu, Hawaii; Robert McGrath, PhD, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, New Jersey; Yossef S. Ben-Porath, PhD, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio; Leslie C. Morey, PhD, Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas

Abstract: The recent Psychological Bulletin article by McGrath, et al (2010, “Evidence for Response Bias as a Source of Error in Applied Assessment”) questions the empirical foundations of validity scales in detecting response bias and impact on substantive clinical scales on self-report personality tests. The paper promises to raise a storm of controversy. This symposium examines McGrath, et al’s premises by presenting concepts, theories, and empirical foundation of response bias in relation to two of the most commonly used personality tests—the MMPI-2-RF and the PAI. The first paper, by Marvin W. Acklin, is an overview of theories of deception in self-report testing and introduces the papers that follow. The second paper by Robert McGrath “Response Bias Measures: Are the Costs Worth the Benefits?” presents his findings that little evidence supports the ability of bias measures to predict the validity of substantive scales where they are commonly used in connection with measures of personality or psychopathology. The third paper, presented by Yossef Ben-Porath, “Validity Scales are Necessary and Cost-Effective: Illustrations with the MMPI-2-RF,” addresses shortcomings in the literature questioning the impact of validity on substantive clinical scales, and presents data from the MMPI-2-RF that demonstrates that validity scales do moderate validity on substantive scales. The fourth paper by Leslie Morey, titled “Validity Moderation with Defensive PAI Profiles” addresses conceptual and research findings on PAI validity scales. Marvin W. Acklin will discuss the papers. His title is “Presentation of Self in Clinical and Forensic Interviews: Do Validity Scales Do the Trick?: Discussion of Symposium Papers.”


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