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Failed the MMPI at the PEPC for ATC

Discussion in 'Ask A Flight Surgeon' started by RollnDollars86, May 20, 2008.

  1. RollnDollars86

    RollnDollars86 New Member

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    I failed the MMPI at the ATC PEPC and was referred by the ATO to a local psychologist for further testing. I know the MMPI measures the consistency of the answers chosen. So what happens if I fail the second MMPI given by the psychologist? I can't be an Air Traffic Controller?
  2. Orange Anchor

    Orange Anchor New Member

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    How does one fail a personality inventory? The MMPI has long been used to screen applicants for many different jobs and see how they match up for job requirements but the MMPI also has many critics.

    I think I would ask some questions about what they meant about 'failing' the exam.

    For more info on the MMPI see
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnesota_Multiphasic_Personality_Inventory
    http://www.pearsonassessments.com/tests/mmpi_2.htm

    FWIW, the MMPI was originally designed as a tool of self-disclosure so therapists could find out what problems an individual had. It was not intended as a tool for HR to screen job applicants but when HR hired some who didn't fit the culture, they eventually decided to use the MMPI and say, "We didn't say that person was or wasn't qualified.. the MMPI indicates..." And thus they were off the hook.

    Or at least that is what I have read about the MMPI and been told.
  3. tonyw

    tonyw Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, the MMPI is supposed to determine which one of several personality types you are. There is no right or wrong type.

    If they are using the MMPI to screen out people applying for a job, they're misusing it and need to stop doing so immediately.
  4. surreal1221

    surreal1221 Well-Known Member

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    It's the FAA guys.

    You think they know what the hell the MMPI is and how it is supposed to be used?
  5. killbilly

    killbilly Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens

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    I phoned up a therapist family member about this, then another one whom I know because I wanted a couple opinions. This is what I learned...

    The wiki article is fairly consistent with what the therapist told me - it's primarily used as a diagnostic indicator - sorta like taking the psychological temperature. An interesting sidenote is that it has built-in gaming detection - apparently, the way it's designed, the scorers can tell if the test taker is trying to 'game' the outcome of the test.

    It's not an accurate measure of the whole of a patient's issues/personality - but it does give reasonably accurate indicators for further investigation - primarily for detecting clinical depression and personality disorders.
  6. tgrayson

    tgrayson New Member

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    As I recall, these tests contain things like "People are following me" and "I hear voices", and many other statements that are characteristic of schizophrenics and psychotics. They make the same statements in a variety of ways in order to test the consistency of answers. I shudder to think that someone "failed" it. :)
  7. Orange Anchor

    Orange Anchor New Member

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    The quick answer is NO. It was NOT designed as a hiring tool although it has been extensively used to do just that. Some history...

    The story is that many years ago, the airlines hired guys that were great sticks but were terrible for public relations. So, they gave a bunch of the good guys the MMPI and decided to hire the guys who fit the profile. Problem.. they were good with the public but there was no correlation between being good with the public and being able to fly. The out was that the HR people could say "The test indicated.." as I noted earlier.

    Also, the MMPI indicates , it is not conclusive nor is it the gold standard. Your test may indicate certain tendencies but you may actually be VERY different so the answer is HELL NO (to use your emphasis) the FAA is not using the tool correctly.

    Finally, as for my DD-214, I have mine with 1 full tour in SEAsia and two short tours. What about yours? I assume you also have one...
  8. Orange Anchor

    Orange Anchor New Member

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    It is reportedly impossible to fake out the exam making one look better or worse than actual. There are 'truth scales' and mean deviations and if one scores outside those scales, the test is INVALIDATED. That may be the answer to this thread.. the person scored outside the mean deviation. That can not be scored as a failure but it does explain why a second therapist is being called for.

    And the FAA is misusing a tool designed for mental health therapists, not HR weenies.
  9. psychomagician

    psychomagician New Member

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    The MMPI-2 is administered (via computer) as part of the pre-employment ATCS medical examination under the supervision of trained proctors. It is administered by Aerospace Medicine, not HR "weenies." HR "weenies" can not purchase the test, as they do not hold the appropriate credentials, such an MD, PhD, or PsyD.

    It is administered as a screening or "case referral" tool. If a candidate's scores across the different scales are less than or exceed certain criteria, then a second, independent evaluation by a licensed Clinical Psychologist is required. Typically, a different test (or tests) would be used in the followup. The consulting Clinical Psychologist provides an assessment to the FAA Flight Surgeon for the hiring region. It is the FAA Regional Flight Surgeon, based on the medical and psychological information presented on a candidate, who determines if a candidate is medically qualified for the ATCS occupation.

    The MMPI was designed as a diagnostic instrument, explicitly and purposefully. An old joke is that is was developed to sort out depressed Scandanavian farmers in Minnesota from the rest of the US population (it was developed by researchers at the University of Minnesota, after all). Joking aside, the MMPI is used to help determine, along with other diagnostic information, if an examinee is schizophrenic, depressed, paranoid, etc.

    The MMPI-2 replaced Cattell's 16PF, which had been used as part of the controller pre-employment medical examination since the 1960s, in a similar role as a "case finder." The original rationale for the psychological screening was to identify candidates who might be "at risk" of succumbing to the pressure and stress of the controller occupation.

    There are published studies and conference presentations on the history, use and efficacy of personality assessment in the controller occupation. The research has found that the 16PF, as scored by the FAA Aerospace Medicine rules, was ineffective in predicting relevant outcomes such as disability retirement (due to stress) or worker's compensation claims for stress-related complaints in long-term followups of controllers hired since the 1981 PATCO strike.

    Given the research findings, the FAA, rightly so, began to look at alternatives several years ago. After a period of data collection and analysis involving several hundred new hires, FAA psychologists and physicians determined that the MMPI-2 was an appropriate instrument for use in a pre-employment medical examination for an occupation with clear psychological demands.

    It is a reasonable and prudent course of action, one that many Fortune 500 companies take in executive hiring, for example. So what the FAA is doing with the MMPI-2 is mainstream, reasonable, prudent, and justified on the basis of science and data.
  10. Orange Anchor

    Orange Anchor New Member

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    Which is essentially what i said. A person discloses through answers information about one's self. From that, information is *inferred*.

    ...which is also mostly what I related.


    So, one group says it is ineffective and the group using it says it is effective . is there supposed to be a surprise here?

    I'm not sure I would want to cite the successes of the Fortune 500 companies with such luminaries as those CEOs in the airline industry, guys like Home Depot's Nardelli and a few others. In fact, I think the argument that the FAA selectees are just as valid as some of the selections by the company boards.. I think that argument scares me.

    I do surmise from your argument that you participate in the post test analysis?
  11. psychomagician

    psychomagician New Member

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    FAA and academic researchers found the 16PF to be ineffective as a psychological screening tool, and should be replaced in the mid-1990s. The 16PF was replaced by the MMPI-2 (finally, nearly a decade later), at the recommendation of the FAA and academic researchers who analyzed the 16PF data in a variety of ways. The MMPI-2 is used to identify applicants who need a second look. Not many do (or are expected to).

    The main point is that the MMPI-2 is not being used in the pre-employment medical examination without thought, carelessly, irresponsibly, or without consideration of the consequences of errors for both applicants and employer.
  12. Old Pete

    Old Pete Well-Known Member

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    Psychomagician, you seem to know a lot about the psychological testing that the FAA does. What percentage of the applicants who need a "second look" are eventually given a clean bill of (mental) health after submitting themselves to additional psychological evaluation?
  13. tefpetti

    tefpetti New Member

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    How did things go with the mmpi follow-up assessment?
  14. RollnDollars86

    RollnDollars86 New Member

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    I'm still waiting for the Psychologist to call me back for the appointment. Apparently he's waiting for the payment to clear from ATO. I have been calling him every week and will do the same 2morrow.
  15. Hacker15e

    Hacker15e Member Of Extraordinary Magnitude

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    Where on the 214 does it show tours? Comments section is all I can think of.
  16. Orange Anchor

    Orange Anchor New Member

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    Error in tranmission.. I have a DD-214 AND I did my tours in SEASia. That comment was i response to a tagline asking about chickenhawks and where was their DD-214.

    No, the DD-214 does not list the tours but thanks for asking. I just looked at it and it says 358 days in IndoChina which means it did not count the two TDY tours in Thailand. ???
  17. Hacker15e

    Hacker15e Member Of Extraordinary Magnitude

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    Thanks. Wasn't trying to criticize...just wondering if the 214 format had changed, as the ones I've seen did not list where people served explicitly. You could figure it out from the Campaign ribbons/medals, but the ones I've seen didn't say a location and time spent there.
  18. Orange Anchor

    Orange Anchor New Member

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    I would think the -214 has changed because it is no longer "Indo-China" :) I was surprised when I found it listed the time 'in country'.

    Yes, AFSC and ribbons and such but nothing about countries. I have my old flight logs also and occasionally I will see a machine with a tail number, check it and find I actually flew that beast a LONG time ago.
  19. psychomagician

    psychomagician New Member

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  20. gimpfest

    gimpfest New Member

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    rollin - how was the follow up?

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