'False Feigners': Examining the Impact of Non-Content-Based Invalid Responding on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 Restructured Form Content-Based Invalid Responding Indicators

Danielle Burchett, Wendy R. Dragon, Ashley M. Smith Holbert, Anthony M. Tarescavage, Curtis A. Mattson, Richard W. Handel, Yossef S. Ben-Porath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Misinterpretation of non-content-based invalid (e.g., random, fixed) responding as overreporting or underreporting
is likely to adversely impact test interpretation and could bias inferences about examinee intentions.
We examined the impact of non-content-based invalid responding on the following Minnesota Multiphasic
Personality Inventory-2 Restructured Form (MMPI-2-RF) content-based invalid responding indicators: Infrequent
Responses (F-r), Infrequent Psychopathology Responses (FP-r), Infrequent Somatic Responses (FS),
Symptom Validity (FBS-r), Response Bias Scale (RBS), Uncommon Virtues (L-r), and Adjustment Validity
(K-r). In 4 samples from which invalid responders were excluded, we systematically inserted increasing
percentages of random, acquiescent, or counter-acquiescent item responses ranging from 0% to 100% and
examined the impact that non-content-based invalid response styles had on the content-based invalid responding
indicators. F-r, FP-r, FS, RBS, and L-r were susceptible to non-content-based invalid responding, whereas
FBS-r and K-r were unaffected. Individuals with Variable Response Inconsistency (VRIN-r) and True
Response Inconsistency (TRIN-r) elevations were removed, and the frequencies of content-based invalid
responding elevations were then reexamined for false indications of feigning. Findings were consistent across
samples and emphasize the need to screen for non-content-based invalid responding before screening for
content-based invalid responding in the assessment of personality and psychopathology. VRIN-r and TRIN-r
were useful in detecting most— but not all—cases of non-content-based invalid responding. A small but
meaningful percentage of the remaining individuals were misclassified as overreporters (i.e., false feigners) by
FP-r and FS. Clinicians should interpret FP-r and FS with some caution in the presence of moderate levels of
non-content-based invalid responding. Post hoc examinations of scale characteristics indicated that the most
susceptible scales were brief, consisted of rarely endorsed items, included a relatively high percentage of
true-keyed items, and required a low percentage of endorsed items to reach clinical significance.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalPsychological Assessment
StatePublished - 2016


  • Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 Restructured Form (MMPI-2-RF)
  • validity scales
  • non-content-based invalid responding
  • content-based invalid responding
  • false feigning


  • Psychology

Cite this