The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2 and MMPI-A) and Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse: A Review of the Literature

By Elliott, Maria A. | Journal of Professional Counseling, Practice, Theory, & Research, Fall/Winter 2008 | Go to article overview

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2 and MMPI-A) and Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse: A Review of the Literature


Elliott, Maria A., Journal of Professional Counseling, Practice, Theory, & Research


Personality measures of adults and adolescents who were sexually abused as children can provide valuable information of the negative effects of the abuse experience. This paper reports on the findings of studies that explore the results of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2/MMPI-A) for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. The findings in female adult studies and adolescent studies show significant and clinical elevations on Scales 4 and 8 of the MMPI-2/MMPI-A for those adolescents and women who experienced childhood sexual abuse compared to their non-abused counterparts. Implications of these findings and areas of future research are discussed so as to inform clinicians to meet the needs of thousands of adolescents and adults who have survived the trauma of such abuse.

The occurrence of sexual abuse during childhood and adolescence has become an important area of exploration as professionals begin to understand the long-term negative effects of such trauma (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2006). Each child, adolescent, and adult survivor may experience varying effects from the abuse, but many similar symptoms, behaviors, and personality traits can be related to the trauma that has occurred (Elhai, Flitter, Gold, & Sellars, 2001a). Finding connections between childhood sexual abuse and short- and long-term effects on personality can allow professionals to better understand the individual and track the development of his or her life into adulthood. Such understanding then will lead to more intentional and successful treatment. There exists a high prevalence of occurrences of childhood sexual abuse, which demands a focus on the unique characteristics and needs of victims of such trauma.

Childhood Sexual Abuse

Maltreatment of children and adolescents encompass many harmful behaviors that children and adolescents experience, ranging from neglect to physical and sexual abuse. Trauma results from these experiences creating fear in a child and may cause temporary or permanent damage in the normal physical and psychological developmental processes. The amended 2003 Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) defined sexual abuse as "the employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of any child to engage in, or assist any other person to engage in, any sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct; or the rape, and in cases of caretaker or inter-familial relationships, statutory rape, molestation, prostitution, or other form of sexual exploitation of children, or incest with children" (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2006). The trauma that surrounds and follows such neglect and abuse greatly affects the child's development and well-being and is a vital concern based on its prevalence in the United States.

Prevalence of Childhood Sexual Abuse

In the past three decades, information and research on childhood sexual abuse has only begun to enter the conversations of professionals and the general public (Eckert, 1996; Rasmussen, Martin, Sc Sorrow, 2001). Such discussions were not widespread earlier due to the stigma and embarrassment around the topic, Professionals working with survivors of trauma began to see the high prevalence and long-term devastating effects of such abuse, and the topic could no longer be ignored. Sexual abuse emerged as a clinically relevant topic in the 1970' s (Eckert, 1996; Rasmussen et al., 2001). With the increased discussion, alarming statistics emerged. Recent counts provided by the United States Health and Human Services 2004 Child Maltreatment Report reported approximately 872,000 children were abused in 2003, approximately 80,000 sexually abused (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2004). In Texas, approximately 50,208 children were confirmed victims of child abuse in 2003; 7,474 were sexually abused (Prevent Child Abuse Texas, 2007).

Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Due to the prevalence of children and adolescents being impacted by sexual abuse, the negative effects create an entire population of individuals who possess unique personality characteristics that often prove to be maladaptive and pathological (Rasmussen et al. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2 and MMPI-A) and Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse: A Review of the Literature
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.