Academic journal article Journal of College Counseling

Validity of the MMPI-2 College Maladjustment Scale

Academic journal article Journal of College Counseling

Validity of the MMPI-2 College Maladjustment Scale

Article excerpt

The purpose of the study was to validate the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2) College Maladjustment scale (Mt) by comparing it with the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire (SACQ). Significant negative correlations existed between the Mt scale and SACQ scores, indicating that the Mt scale measures maladjustment, especially emotional maladjustment, in college students.

Assessment of college maladjustment and early identification of at-risk students is important because as many as 40% of entering freshmen leave school without earning a degree, 75% of these students drop out in the first 2 years of college, and institutions can expect that 56% of a typical entering class cohort will not graduate from that college (Tinto, 1987). From the student's perspective, grades and academic difficulties are ranked as the primary areas that affect college adjustment (Bean, 1982). However, the ability to adjust to college life and to stay enrolled is affected by numerous issues such as finances, health, loneliness, interpersonal conflicts, difficulty in adjusting to change, and development of personal autonomy (Baker & Siryk, 1984; Hoffman, 1984). Gerdes and Mallinckrodt (1994) suggested that the distinctions between aspects of adjustment are not sharp and that the following broad areas might have an important influence on college attrition: academic adjustment, which includes academic abi lities; motivational factors and institutional commitment; social adjustment; and personal or emotional adjustment. Results of a longitudinal study of overall adjustment to college by Gerdes and Mallinckrodt suggested that, in general, emotional and social factors predict attrition as well as or better than academic factors.

Kleinmuntz (1961) developed the original College Maladjustment scale (Mt) for the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) to discriminate between emotionally well-adjusted and emotionally maladjusted college students. Items were selected from the MMPI item pool by comparing responses of 40 adjusted and 40 maladjusted male and female students. The adjusted students had contacted a university clinic to arrange a routine mental health screening examination as part of teacher certification procedures; none reported a history of psychiatric treatment. The maladjusted students had contacted the same clinic for assistance with emotional disorders and had remained in psychotherapy for three or more sessions. Item analyses yielded 43 items that discriminated between emotionally adjusted and maladjusted students (Kleinmuntz, 1961). The scale was revised for the MMPI-2 (Butcher, Dahlstrom, Graham, Tellegen, & Kaemmer, 1989) and includes 41 of the original 43 items.

Kleinmuntz (1960) identified six clusters of items from the Mt sc le that suggested characteristics that might describe maladjusted students, he first cluster involved feelings of ineffectiveness and worthlessness. Students with these characteristics expressed feelings of pessimism about their future, a lack of self-confidence, and doubts about their ability to make proper decisions. The second and third clusters are closely related and are made up of characteristics such as a lack of interest in life, an inability to start doing things, and an attitude that life seems to be a strain much of the time. The fourth item cluster described students who are nervous, easily upset, prone to worry, and fearful of "going to pieces." The fifth cluster described students who have somatic symptoms and who are especially preoccupied with gastrointestinal symptoms. The sixth cluster was related to scholastic success and described students who consistently reported their inability to concentrate.

Kleinmuntz (1961) reported that college students who took the t scale on entering college and then later sought emotional counseling scored higher on the scale than did a similar group of students who also took the Mt scale on entry to college but later sought counseling of a vocational-academic nature. …

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