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The Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III, Third Edition (MCMI-III)(2009) with new norms and updated scoring

by Theodore Millon, Ph.D., D.Sc., Roger Davis, Ph.D., Carrie Millon, Ph.D., & Seth Grossman, Psy.D.

This recent Third Edition development of the MCMI-III adds the Grossman Facet Scales, a series of therapy-guiding facet subscales, to the basic personality scales of the instrument. These fact scales identify the most salient clinical domains (e.g., interpersonal, cognitive) that characterize the patient taking the inventory. This information helps "personalize" and further "individualize" the MCMI test results by specifying those features that call for the therapist' attention in what is called "personalized therapy". But first, a few words about the basic MCMI-III and what distinguishes it as a clinical instrument.

The MCMI™ (Millon™ Clinical Multiaxial Inventory) is distinguished from other inventories primarily by its brevity, its theoretical anchoring, multiaxial format, tripartite construction and validation schema, use of base rate scores, and interpretive depth. Each generation of the MCMI inventory has attempted to keep the total number of items small enough to encourage its use in all types of diagnostic and treatment settings, yet large enough to permit the assessment of a wide range of clinically relevant multiaxial behaviors. At 175 items, the MCMI inventory is much shorter than comparable instruments. Terminology is geared to an eighth-grade reading level. The inventory is almost self-administering. The great majority of patients can complete the MCMI-III™ in 20 to 30 minutes, facilitating relatively simple and rapid administrations while minimizing patient resistance and fatigue.

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THEORETICAL ANCHORING

Diagnostic instruments are more useful when they are linked systematically to a comprehensive clinical theory. Unfortunately, assessment techniques and personality theory have developed almost independently. As a result, few diagnostic measures have either been based on or have evolved from clinical theory. The MCMI™ is different. Each of its Axis II scales is an operational measure of a syndrome derived from a theory of personality (Millon, 1969, 1981, 1986a, 1986b, 1990; Millon & Davis, 1996). The scales and profiles of the MCMI™ thus measure these theory-derived and theory-refined variables directly and quantifiably. With a firm foundation in measurement, scale elevations and configurations can be used to suggest specific patient diagnoses and clinical dynamics, as well as testable hypotheses about social history and current behavior.

COORDINATION TO DSM-IV

No less important than its link to theory is the coordination between a clinically-oriented instrument and official diagnostic constructs. Few diagnostic instruments currently available have been constructed to be as consonant with the official nosology at the MCMI™. With the advent of DSM-III, DSM-III-R, and DSM-IV, diagnostic categories were precisely specified and operationally defined. The structure of the MCMI inventory parallels that of the DSM at a number of levels. First, the scales of the MCMI inventory are grouped into the categories of personality and psychopathology, to reflect the DSM distinction between Axis II and Axis I. Thus, separate scales distinguish the more enduring personality characteristics of patients (Axis II) from the more acute clinical disorders they display (Axis I). Profiles based on all clinical scales may be interpreted to illuminate the interplay between long-standing characterological patterns and the distinctive clinical symptoms currently manifest.

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TEST DEVELOPMENT

Item selection and scale development progressed through a sequence of three validation steps: (1) theoretical-substantive; (2) internal-structural; and (3) external-criterion. In the theoretical-substantive stage, items for each syndrome were generated to conform both to theoretical requirements and to the substance of DSM criteria. In the internal-structural stage, these "rational" items were subjected to internal consistency analyses. Items having higher correlations with scales for which they were not intended were either dropped entirely or re-examined against theoretical criteria and reassigned or reweighted. Only items surviving each successive validation stage were included in subsequent analyses. In the external-criterion phase, items were examined in terms of their ability to discriminate between clinical groups, rather than between clinical groups and normal subjects. This tripartite model of test construction attempts to synthesize the strengths of each construction phase by rejecting items that are found to be deficient in particular respects, thus ensuring that the final scales do not consist of items which optimize one particular parameter of test construction, but instead conjointly satisfy multiple requirements, increasing the generalizability of the end product.

BASE RATE SCORES

An important feature which distinguishes the MCMI inventory from other inventories is its use of actuarial base rate data, rather than normalized standard score transformations.  T-scores implicitly assume the prevalence rates of all disorders to be equal, that is, there are equal numbers of depressives and schizophrenics, for example. In contrast, the MCMI inventory seeks to diagnose the percentages of patients that are actually found to be disordered across diagnostic settings. These data not only provide a basis for selecting optimal differential diagnostic cutting lines, but also ensure that the frequency of MCMI™ generated diagnoses and profile patterns will be comparable to representative clinical prevalence rates.

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COMPUTER SCORING AND INTERPRETATION

Computer programs are available for rapid and convenient machine scoring in all major computing environments. Interpretive reports are available at two levels of detail. The PROFILE REPORT presents the patient's MCMI™ scores and profile, and is useful as a screening device to identify patients that may require more intensive evaluation or professional attention.The NARRATIVE REPORT integrates both personological and symptomatic features of the patient, and are arranged in a style similar to those prepared by clinical psychologists. Results are based on actuarial research, the MCMI's theoretical schema, and relevant DSM diagnoses within a multiaxial framework. Therapeutic implications are included.

CLINICAL USES

The primary intent of the MCMI inventory is to provide information to clinicians, that is, psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, social workers, physicians, and nurses, who must make assessments and treatment decisions about persons with emotional and interpersonal difficulties.

Because of its simplicity of administration and the availability of rapid computer scoring and interpretation, the MCMI inventory can be used on a routine basis in outpatient clinics, community agencies, mental health centers, college counseling programs, general and mental hospitals, as well as independent and group practice offices, and in the courts.

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RESEARCH

Over 600 research studies have used the MCMI™ inventory in a significant manner. Objective, quantified, and theory-grounded individual scale scores and profile patterns can be used to generate and test a variety of clinical, experimental, and demographic hypotheses. Research support is also available through Pearson Assessments.

SCALES

The MCMI, Third Edition consists of a total of twenty-four scales: Fourteen Clinical Personality Patterns scales: Schizoid, Avoidant, Depressive (Melancholic), Dependent, Histrionic, Narcissistic, Antisocial, Sadistic, Compulsive, Negativistic, and Masochistic; three Severe Personality Pathology scales: Schizotypal, Borderline, and Paranoid; seven Clinical Syndrome Scales: Anxiety, Somatoform, Bipolar (Manic), Dysthymia, Alcohol Dependence, Drug Dependence, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder; three Severe Clinical Syndrome scales: Thought Disorder, Major Depression, and Delusional Disorder; three Modifying Indices and a Validity scale. The personality scales parallel the personality disorders of the DSM-III-R and DSM-IV, as refined by theory. They are grouped into two levels of severity, the Clinical Personality Patterns scales and Severe Personality Scales. The Axis I scales represent clinical conditions frequently seen in clinical settings. They are also grouped into two levels of severity, the Clinical Syndromes scales and the Severe Syndrome Scales. The three Modifying Indices - Disclosure, Desirability, and Debasement - assess response tendencies which are connected with particular personality patterns or Axis I conditions.

The MCMI-III, Third Edition is a recent development in that it adds value to the basic inventory. Present for the first time are a series of facet subscales for refining and maximizing the utility of each of the major personality scales. Known as the Grossman Facet Scales, they provide information specifying the patient's scores on several of the personologic/clinical domains described in previous sections of this Website, such as problematic interpersonal conduct, cognitive styles, expressive behaviors, and the like. They thereby contribute useful diagnostic information that should help clinicians better understand the particular realms of functioning on which the patient's difficulties manifest themselves. They should also provide the clinical practitioner with guidance for selecting specific therapeutic modalities that are likely to maximize the achievement of positive treatment goals.

Scale descriptions and detailed data on test development and validation may be obtained by reading the latest (2006) MCMI-III, Third Edition test manual.

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ORDERING THE MCMI-III™

The MCMI-III™ and all Millon instruments are available through Pearson Assessments at 1-800-627-7271 (voice) or 1-800-632-9011 (fax).

(see a sample narrative report)

 

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