Handbook of Psychological Assessment / Edition 5

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This revision of the highly acclaimed and most widely used resource on psychological assessment features thorough coverage of the principles of assessment, evaluation, referral, treatment planning and report writing. Material is presented in a practical, skills-based manner (e.g. how to integrate test data into treatment plans and writing psychological reports) and offers coverage of the most widely used assessment instruments (including the newly revised WAIS-IV and WISC-IV, as well as the Wechsler Memory Scales-IV, Rorschach, Thematic Apperception Test, Neuropsychological screening, Behavioral, CPI, MCMI-III, MMPI-2/MMPI-A). This valuable reference provides clinical psychologists, therapists, school psychologists, and counselors with step-by-step, expert guidance on how to conduct a comprehensive psychological evaluation. Thoroughly updated with increased emphasis on diversity as well as chapters on client feedback and consultation, this bestselling handbook is a must-have reference for academics, professionals, and libraries.

The book contains black-and-white illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for the Fourth Edition

"In sum, this book continues to set the standard in the field and is strongly recommended as a basic reference guide for those clinicians who routinely do psychological testing." (Psychotherapy Review, 11/6/2006)

Bertram H. Rothschild
[The book's] purpose has been splendidly realized by Groth-Marnat, who has combined current scientific and clinical understandings and clear writing with an excellent sense of organization.
Contemporary Psychology
. . . a commendable volume in which the author condenses information, normally in several locations, into one reading . . . an excellent text for graduate courses on psychological assessment. It would familiarize the student with the entire enterprise of clinical assessment and provide enough of a how-to guide for the student to carry out an assessment practicum.
Reference and Research Book News
For both practitioners and students of psychological assessment, the expanded and updated Handbook provides guidance to the selection, administration, evaluation, and interpretation of the most commonly used psychological tests.
For both practitioners and students of psychological assessment, the expanded and updated Handbook provides guidance to the selection, administration, evaluation, and interpretation of the most commonly used psychological tests. It also instructs readers in integrating test results, interview data, and behavioral measurements into a psychological report. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A step-by-step guide to the classic tests for psychological assessment, including Wechsler Intelligence Scales, Bender-Gestalt, Rorschach, the Minnesota Multiphasic, and projective drawings. Compiles information from many separate manuals and texts. The third edition updates evaluation systems, includes new and revised tests, adds sections on ethics and test selection, and expands the coverage of various topics. No dates are noted for the previous editions. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470083581
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 5/4/2009
  • Series: Wiley Desktop Editions Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 768
  • Sales rank: 117,709
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Gary Groth-Marnat, Phd, Abpp, is a professor at Pacifica Graduate Institute and is in private practice in Santa Barbara, California. He is the author of four books on assessment and more than 130 journal articles, monographs, and book chapters.

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Read an Excerpt

Handbook of Psychological Assessment

By Gary Groth-Marnat

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-471-41979-6

Chapter One


The Handbook of Psychological Assessment is designed to develop a high level of practitioner competence by providing relevant practical, as well as some theoretical, material. It can serve as both a reference and instructional guide. As a reference book, it aids in test selection and the development of a large number and variety of interpretive hypotheses. As an instructional text, it provides students with the basic tools for conducting an integrated psychological assessment. The significant and overriding emphasis in this book is on assessing areas that are of practical use in evaluating individuals in a clinical context. It is applied in its orientation, and for the most part, I have kept theoretical discussions to a minimum. Many books written on psychological testing and the courses organized around these books focus primarily on test theory, with a brief overview of a large number of tests. In contrast, my intent is to focus on the actual processes that practitioners go through during assessment. I begin with such issues as role clarification and evaluation of the referral question and end with treatment planning and the actual preparation of the report itself. Although I have included some material on test theory, my purpose is to review those areas that are most relevant in evaluating tests before including them in a battery.

One ofthe crucial skills that I hope readers of this text will develop, or at least have enhanced, is a realistic appreciation of the assets and limitations of assessment. This includes an appraisal of psychological assessment as a general strategy as well as an awareness of the assets and limitations of specific instruments and procedures. A primary limitation of assessment lies in the incorrect handling of the data, which is not integrated in the context of other sources of information (behavioral observations, history, other test scores). Also, the results are not presented in a way that helps solve the unique problems clients or referral sources are confronting. To counter these limitations, the text continually provides practitioners with guidelines for integrating and presenting the data in as useful a manner as possible. The text is thus not so much a book on test interpretation (although this is an important component) but on test integration within the wider context of assessment. As a result, psychologists should be able to create reports that are accurate, effective, concise, and highly valued by the persons who receive them.


My central organizational plan for the Handbook of Psychological Assessment replicates the sequence practitioners follow when performing an evaluation. They are initially concerned with clarifying their roles, ensuring that they understand all the implications of the referral question, deciding which procedures would be most appropriate for the assessment, and reminding themselves of the potential problems associated with clinical judgment (Chapter 1). They also need to understand the context in which they will conduct the assessment. This understanding includes appreciating the issues, concerns, terminology, and likely roles of the persons from these contexts. Practitioners also must have clear ethical guidelines, know how to work with persons from diverse backgrounds, and recognize issues related to computer-assisted assessment and the ways that the preceding factors might influence their selection of procedures (see Chapter 2).

Once practitioners have fully understood the preliminary issues discussed in Chapters 1 and 2, they must select different strategies of assessment. The three major strategies are interviewing, observing behavior, and psychological testing. An interview is likely to occur during the initial phases of assessment and is also essential in interpreting test scores and understanding behavioral observations (see Chapter 3). The assessment of actual behaviors might also be undertaken (see Chapter 4). Behavioral assessment might be either an end in itself, or an adjunct to testing. It might involve a variety of strategies such as the measurement of overt behaviors, cognitions, alterations in physiology, or relevant measures from self-report inventories.

The middle part of the book (Chapters 5 through 13) provides a general overview of the most frequently used tests. Each chapter begins with an introduction to the test in the form of a discussion of its history and development, current evaluation, and procedures for administration. The main portions of these chapters provide a guide for interpretation, which includes such areas as the meaning of different scales, significant relations between scales, frequent trends, and the meaning of unusually high or low scores. When appropriate, there are additional subsections. For example, Chapter 5, "Wechsler Intelligence Scales," includes additional sections on the meaning of IQ scores, estimating premorbid IQ, and assessing special populations. Likewise, Chapter 11, "Thematic Apperception Test," includes a summary of Murray's theory of personality because a knowledge of his concepts is a prerequisite for understanding and interpreting the test. Chapter 12, "Screening and Assessing for Neuropsychological Impairment," varies somewhat from the preceding format in that it is more a compendium and interpretive guide to some of the most frequently used short neuropsychological tests, along with a section on the special considerations in conducting a neuropsychological interview. This organization reflects the current emphasis on and strategies for assessing patients with possible neuropsychological dysfunction.

Several of the chapters on psychological tests are quite long, particularly those for the Wechsler scales, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, and neuropsychological screening and assessment. These chapters include extensive summaries of a wide variety of interpretive hypotheses intended for reference purposes when practitioners must generate interpretive hypotheses based on specific test scores. To gain initial familiarity with the tests, I recommend that practitioners or students carefully read the initial sections (history and development, psychometric properties, etc.) and then skim through the interpretation sections more quickly. This provides the reader with a basic familiarity with the procedures and types of data obtainable from the tests. As practical test work progresses, clinicians can then study the interpretive hypotheses in greater depth and gradually develop more extensive knowledge of the scales and their interpretation.

Based primarily on current frequency of use, the following tests are covered in this text: the Wechsler intelligence scales (WAIS-III /WISC-III), Wechsler Memory Scales (WMS-III), Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2), Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory (MCMI-III ), Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test (along with other frequently used neuropsychological tests), Rorschach, and the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT; Camara, Nathan, & Puente, 2000; C. Piotrowski & Zalewski, 1993; Watkins, 1991; Watkins, Campbell, Nieberding, & Hallmark, 1995). The California Personality Inventory (CPI) was selected because of the importance of including a broad-based inventory of normal functioning along with its excellent technical development and relatively large research base (Anastasi & Urbina, 1997; Baucom, 1985; Gough, 2000; Wetzler, 1990). I also included a chapter on the most frequently used brief, symptom-focused inventories because of the increasing importance of monitoring treatment progress and outcome in a cost- and time-efficient managed care environment (Eisman, 2000; C. Piotrowski, 1999). The preceding instruments represent the core assessment devices used by most practitioners.

Finally, the clinician must generate relevant treatment recommendations and integrate the assessment results into a psychological report. Chapter 14 provides a systematic approach for working with assessment results to develop practical, empirically supported treatment recommendations. Chapter 15 presents guidelines for report writing, a report format, and four sample reports representative of the four most common types of referral settings (medical setting, legal context, educational context, psychological clinic). Thus, the chapters follow a logical sequence and provide useful, concise, and practical knowledge.


The central role of clinicians conducting assessments should be to answer specific questions and aid in making relevant decisions. To fulfill this role, clinicians must integrate a wide range of data and bring into focus diverse areas of knowledge. Thus, they are not merely administering and scoring tests. A useful distinction to highlight this point is the contrast between a psychometrist and a clinician conducting psychological assessment (Maloney & Ward, 1976; Matarazzo, 1990). Psychometrists tend to use tests merely to obtain data, and their task is often perceived as emphasizing the clerical and technical aspects of testing. Their approach is primarily data oriented, and the end product is often a series of traits or ability descriptions. These descriptions are typically unrelated to the person's overall context and do not address unique problems the person may be facing. In contrast, psychological assessment attempts to evaluate an individual in a problem situation so that the information derived from the assessment can somehow help with the problem. Tests are only one method of gathering data, and the test scores are not end products, but merely means of generating hypotheses. Psychological assessment, then, places data in a wide perspective, with its focus being problem solving and decision making.

The distinction between psychometric testing and psychological assessment can be better understood and the ideal role of the clinician more clearly defined by briefly elaborating on the historical and methodological reasons for the development of the psychometric approach. When psychological tests were originally developed, group measurements of intelligence met with early and noteworthy success, especially in military and industrial settings where individual interviewing and case histories were too expensive and time consuming. An advantage of the data-oriented intelligence tests was that they appeared to be objective, which would reduce possible interviewer bias. More important, they were quite successful in producing a relatively high number of true positives when used for classification purposes. Their predictions were generally accurate and usable. However, this created the early expectation that all assessments could be performed using the same method and would provide a similar level of accuracy and usefulness. Later assessment strategies often tried to imitate the methods of earlier intelligence tests for variables such as personality and psychiatric diagnosis.

A further development consistent with the psychometric approach was the strategy of using a "test battery." It was reasoned that if a single test could produce accurate descriptions of an ability or trait, administering a series of tests could create a total picture of the person. The goal, then, was to develop a global, yet definitive, description for the person using purely objective methods. This goal encouraged the idea that the tool (psychological test) was the best process for achieving the goal, rather than being merely one technique in the overall assessment procedure. Behind this approach were the concepts of individual differences and trait psychology. These assume that one of the best ways to describe the differences among individuals is to measure their strengths and weaknesses with respect to various traits. Thus, the clearest approach to the study of personality involved developing a relevant taxonomy of traits and then creating tests to measure these traits. Again, there was an emphasis on the tools as primary, with a de-emphasis on the input of the clinician. These trends created a bias toward administration and clerical skills. In this context, the psychometrist requires little, if any, clinical expertise other than administering, scoring, and interpreting tests. According to such a view, the most preferred tests would be machine-scored true-false or multiple choice-constructed so that the normed scores, rather than the psychometrist, provide the interpretation.

The objective psychometric approach is most appropriately applicable to ability tests such as those measuring intelligence or mechanical skills. Its usefulness decreases, however, when users attempt to assess personality traits such as dependence, authoritarianism, or anxiety. Personality variables are far more complex and, therefore, need to be validated in the context of history, behavioral observations, and interpersonal relationships. For example, a T score of 70 on the MMPI-2 scale 9 (mania) takes on an entirely different meaning for a high-functioning physician than for an individual with a poor history of work and interpersonal relationships. When the purely objective psychometric approach is used for the evaluation of problems in living (neurosis, psychosis, etc.), its usefulness is questionable.

Psychological assessment is most useful in the understanding and evaluation of personality and especially of problems in living. These issues involve a particular problem situation having to do with a specific individual. The central role of the clinician performing psychological assessment is that of an expert in human behavior who must deal with complex processes and understand test scores in the context of a person's life. The clinician must have knowledge concerning problem areas and, on the basis of this knowledge, form a general idea regarding behaviors to observe and areas in which to collect relevant data. This involves an awareness and appreciation of multiple causation, interactional influences, and multiple relationships. As Woody (1980) has stated, "Clinical assessment is individually oriented, but it always considers social existence; the objective is usually to help the person solve problems."

In addition to an awareness of the role suggested by psychological assessment, clinicians should be familiar with core knowledge related to measurement and clinical practice. This includes descriptive statistics, reliability (and measurement error), validity (and the meaning of test scores), normative interpretation, selection of appropriate tests, administration procedures, variables related to diversity (ethnicity, race, age, gender), testing individuals with disabilities, and an appropriate amount of supervised experience (Turner, DeMers, Fox, & Reed, 2001).


Excerpted from Handbook of Psychological Assessment by Gary Groth-Marnat Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Introduction

Organization of the Handbook

Role of the Clinician

Patterns of Test Usage in Clinical Assessment

Evaluating Psychological Tests

Validity in Clinical Practice

Clinical Judgment

Phases in Clinical Assessment

Recommended Reading

Chapter 2 Context of Clinical Assessment

Types of Referral Settings

Ethical Practice of Assessment

Assessing Diverse Groups

Selecting Psychological Tests

Computer-Assisted Assessment

Recommended Reading

Chapter 3 The Assessment Interview

History and Development

Issues Related to Reliability and Validity

Assets and Limitations

The Assessment Interview and Case History

Mental Status Examination

Interpreting Interview Data

Structured Interviews

Recommended Reading

Chapter 4 Behavioral Assessment

History and Development

Issues Related to Reliability and Validity

Assets and Limitations

Strategies of Behavioral Assessment

Recommended Reading

Chapter 5 Wechsler Intelligence Scales

Testing of Intelligence: Pro and Con

History and Development

Reliability and Validity

Assets and Limitations

Use with Diverse Groups

Meaning of IQ Scores

Cautions and Guidelines in Administration

WAIS-IV/WISC-IV Successive-Level Interpretation Procedure

Wechsler Indexes and Subtests

Assessing Brain Damage

Assessing Additional Special Populations

Short Forms

Recommended Reading

Chapter 6 Wechsler Memory Scales

History and Development

Reliability and Validity

Assets and Limitations

Use with Diverse Groups

Interpretation Procedure

Interpreting Patterns of Index Scores

Comparing Scores on the WAIS-IV and the WMS-IV

Additional Considerations: Malingering and Evaluating Change

Recommended Reading

Chapter 7 Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

History and Development

Reliability and Validity

Assets and Limitations

Use with Diverse Groups


Interpretation Procedure

Computerized Interpretation

Validity Scales

Clinical Scales

2-Point Codes

MMPI-2 Content Scales

MMPI-A Content Scales

Harris-Lingoes and Si Subscales

Critical Items

MMPI-2 and MMPI-A Supplementary Scales

Recommended Reading

Chapter 8 Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory

History and Development

Reliability and Validity

Assets and Limitations

Use with Diverse Groups

Interpretation Procedure

Modifying Indices (Validity Scales)

Clinical Personality Patterns

Severe Personality Pathology

Clinical Syndromes

Severe Syndromes

Recommended Reading

Chapter 9 California Psychological Inventory

History and Development

Comparison with the MMPI

Reliability and Validity

Assets and Limitations

Use with Diverse Groups

Interpretation Procedures

Vector Scale Interpretation

Individual Scales

Special Purpose Scales

Configural Interpretation

Recommended Reading

Chapter 10 The Rorschach

History and Development

Reliability and Validity

Assets and Limitations

Use with Diverse Groups

Future Directions



Structural Summary


Recommended Reading

Chapter 11 Thematic Apperception Test

History and Development

Theoretical Perspectives

Reliability and Validity

Assets and Limitations

Use with Diverse Groups


Typical Themes Elicited

Scoring Procedures


Recommended Reading

Chapter 12 Screening for Neuropsychological Impairment

History and Development

Interviewing for Brain Impairment

Domains of Neuropsychological Functioning

Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test

Repeatable Batter for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status

Recommended Reading

Chapter 13 Brief Instruments for Treatment Planning, Monitoring, and Outcome Assessment

Selecting Brief Instruments

Symptom Checklist-90-R (SCL-90-R) and Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI)

Beck Depression Inventory

State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI)

Recommended Reading

Chapter 14 Psychological Assessment and Treatment Planning

Development and Approaches to Treatment Planning

A Systematic Approach to Treatment Selection

Functional Impairment

Social Support

Problem Complexity/Chronicity

Coping Style


Subjective Distress

Problem-Solving Phase

Recommended Reading

Chapter 15 Psychological Report

General Guidelines

Format for a Psychological Report

Sample Reports

Recommended Reading


Appendix A Test publishers/distributors

Appendix B Testing organizations

Appendix C WISC-IV Norms Tables for Clinical Clusters

Appendix D Directions for Hand Scoring the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2) Validity and Clinical Scales

Appendix E Rorscharch Norms for Scoring Categories

Appendix F Rorschach Norms for Ratios, Percentages, and Special Indices

Appendix G WAIS-IV Norms Tables for Clinical Clusters


Author Index

Subject Index

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 6 of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2014

    This was a wonderful book explaining the details of Personality

    This was a wonderful book explaining the details of Personality Testing. Used for Graduate class.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Review of The Handbook of Psychological Assessment

    I got this book for my Psychological Testing class which is required for my psychology doctoral program. This book covers several psychological tests. It is nice to see that a book was updated to include new information, such as the updated WASI-IV, and not just updated so the publisher can make more money. This is a pricey book, but well worth it as it is required for two of my classes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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