This 14-year-old male is currently in the ninth grade. In the demographic portion of the test, he identifies "restless/bored" as the problem that is troubling him the most. A tendency toward avoiding self-disclosure is evident in this adolescent's response style. This nondisclosure may signify characterological evasiveness or an unwillingness to divulge matters of a personal nature, problematic or not. Also possible are broad deficits in introspectiveness and psychological-mindedness, owing to either emotional impoverishment or thought vagueness" (Millon 2005).
As evidenced in the above, sample assessment, the Millon devices are all-encompassing, giving a diagnosis and analysis of a multitude of different factors relating to an individual's state of mental health. A statistical recording of all responses and how they correlate to different mental health conditions is included and incorporated into the assessment. The assessment can make judgments about an adolescent's developmental state, as for example the above 9th grader's lack of maturity, and even be used to diagnose a serious mental condition.
The Rorschach's test is comprehensive in the sense that it strives to provide a picture of overall mental functioning. It also may take place in conjunction with a long-term relationship between a therapist and a patient, and simply the ability to free-associate about the pictures may be incorporated into the therapeutic process, unlike the questionnaire and more quantitatively-based approach of Millon.
In terms of the Rorschach test, the applicability is obviously limited to clinical settings, given the subjective nature of scoring and the need for a highly trained professional in interpreting the test in regards to the test-taker's individual situation to make the assessment meaningful. The assessment process is also quite-time consuming. In contrast, the MCMI test as well as its adolescent component is designed for a wide range of clinical settings, in situations where the therapist may not know the individual to whom he or she is administrating the test particularly well.
The DSM-IV, which the MCMI Test derives is definition for some of its more controversial conceptions such as 'personality disorder,' has come under scrutiny itself for cultural biases in the way that it prioritizes individualism, for example, as a marker of a healthy psyche. The Rorschach's most obvious danger of bias might seem to be in the subjective evaluation of the interpreter, but there are other, deeper problems with the potential cultural bias of the test -- for example, within some cultures, 'white space' is given more importance than color, but in rating the responses of individuals on the Rorschach, concepts such as movement and use of color are critical in presenting a diagnostic picture of the individual's psyche. The test may not be useful if compared against the responses of an individual coming from a different cultural context, particularly one that values visual space in a different fashion (Dana, 2005, pp.121-123).
Psychological assessment tools, even ones as different as the MCMI and the inkblot approaches may be 'blunt' instruments in assessing personality and mental stability and must be used with great caution. Their greatest usefulness, ironically, may be their ability to provoke thought and self-reflection on the part of the test-taker. The danger is that the results will be used to stereotype the individual, and to provide homogenous treatment -- a particular danger in the case of the MCMI, or in the case of the Rorschach, use a highly Westernized conception of assessing an individual's approach to a visual image.
Ironically, far less scientific approaches to personality assessment, like the Jungian scales of introversion and extroversion, or self-assessment devices available in self-help books or on the web, although they may not be scientifically valid or comprehensive in nature, may be the most helpful devices for individuals seeking aid. Through self-directed selection of the right test addressing the individual's personal problem, and judicious use of an admittedly unscientifically derived result, the process of examination in a non-judgmental fashion may be the most valuable personality assessment of all.
Dana, Richard Henry. (2005). Multicultural assessment. New York: Routledge.
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Millon himself stated the test is "not a general personality instrument to be used for 'normal' populations or for purposes other than diagnostic screening or clinical assessments" (Psychological testing, 2009, IPT). The test is only for use with subjects who are already known to exhibit psychopathology and personality disorders. It is best to use to refine a diagnosis that is already supported by other evidence and is not suitable