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Handbook of Psychological Assessment / Edition 6

Handbook of Psychological Assessment / Edition 6

by Gary Groth-Marnat, A. Jordan Wright


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Handbook of Psychological Assessment / Edition 6

Organized according to the sequence mental health professionals follow when conducting an assessment, Groth-Marnat’s Handbook of Psychological Assessment, Sixth Edition covers principles of assessment, evaluation, referral, treatment planning, and report writing. Written in a practical, skills-based manner, the Sixth Edition provides guidance on the most efficient methods for selecting and administering tests, interpreting assessment data, how to integrate test scores and develop treatment plans as well as instruction on ways to write effective, client-oriented psychological reports.
This text provides through coverage of the most commonly used assessment instruments including the Wechsler Intelligence Scales, Wechsler Memory Scales, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, Personality Assessment Inventory, Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory, NEO Personality, Rorschach, Thematic Apperception Test, and brief assessment instruments for treatment planning, monitoring, and outcome assessment.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781118960646
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 05/02/2016
Pages: 928
Sales rank: 141,325
Product dimensions: 7.10(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

GARY GROTH-MARNAT, PHD, ABPP, is an author, lecturer, researcher, and practicing clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist. He is Professor Emeritus, Pacific Graduate School, and a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Society for Personality Assessment.

A. JORDAN WRIGHT, PHD, is an Assistant Professor in Human Development at Empire State College, State University of New York. He is the author of Conducting Psychological Assessment: A Guide for Practitioners from Wiley.

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).


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Table of Contents

Preface xi

Chapter 1 Introduction 1

Organization of the Handbook 1

Role of the Clinician 3

Patterns of Test Usage in Clinical Assessment 6

Evaluating Psychological Tests 10

Validity in Clinical Practice 23

Clinical Judgment 26

Phases in Clinical Assessment 32

Recommended Reading 37

Chapter 2 Context of Clinical Assessment 39

Types of Referral Settings 39

Ethical Practice of Assessment 50

Assessing Diverse Groups 59

Selecting Psychological Tests 67

Computer-Assisted Assessment 72

Recommended Reading 74

Chapter 3 The Assessment Interview 77

History and Development 78

Issues Related to Reliability and Validity 82

Assets and Limitations 84

The Assessment Interview and Case History 86

Mental Status Evaluation 93

Interpreting Interview Data 99

Structured Interviews 100

Recommended Reading 111

Chapter 4 Behavioral Assessment 113

History and Development 115

Issues Related to Reliability and Validity 117

Assets and Limitations 120

Strategies of Behavioral Assessment 121

Recommended Reading 136

Chapter 5 Wechsler Intelligence Scales 139

Testing of Intelligence: Pros and Cons 139

History and Development 142

Reliability and Validity 147

Assets and Limitations 151

Use with Diverse Groups 153

Meaning of IQ Scores 156

Cautions and Guidelines in Administration 159

WAIS-IV/WISC-V Successive-Level Interpretation Procedure 161

Wechsler Indexes and Subtests 173

Assessing Brain Damage 196

Assessing Additional Special Populations 204

Short Forms 209

Recommended Reading 213

Chapter 6 Wechsler Memory Scales 215

History and Development 216

Reliability and Validity 222

Assets and Limitations 224

Use with Diverse Groups 226

Interpretation Procedure 227

Interpreting Patterns of Index Scores 230

Comparing Scores on the WAIS-IV and the WMS-IV 238

Additional Considerations: Malingering and Evaluating Change 241

Recommended Reading 242

Chapter 7 Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory 243

History and Development 246

Reliability and Validity 251

Assets and Limitations 255

Use with Diverse Groups 259

Administration 262

MMPI-2 Interpretation Procedure 263

MMPI-2 Computerized Interpretation 272

MMPI-2 Validity Scales 273

MMPI-2 Clinical Scales 279

MMPI-2 2-Point Codes 302

MMPI-2 Content Scales 328

MMPI-A Content Scales 331

MMPI-2 Harris-Lingoes and Si Subscales 334

MMPI-2 Critical Items 337

MMPI-2 and MMPI-A Supplementary Scales 338

MMPI-2-RF Interpretation Procedure 341

MMPI-2-RF Validity Scales 346

MMPI-2-RF Higher-Order Scales 353

MMPI-2-RF Restructured Clinical Scales 355

MMPI-2-RF Specific Problem Scales 361

Interest Scales 366

MMPI-2-RF Personality Psychopathology Five Scales 366

Recommended Reading 370

Chapter 8 Personality Assessment Inventory 371

History and Development 373

Reliability and Validity 373

Assets and Limitations 375

Use with Diverse Groups 377

Interpretation Procedure 377

Validity Scales 380

Clinical Scales 384

Treatment Scales 404

Interpersonal Scales 408

Additional Clusters 410

Critical Items 415

Recommended Reading 416

Chapter 9 Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory 417

History and Development 419

Reliability and Validity 424

Assets and Limitations 427

Use with Diverse Groups 431

Interpretation Procedure 432

Validity Scales 436

Clinical Personality Patterns 439

Severe Personality Pathology 476

Clinical Syndromes 486

Severe Syndromes 488

Recommended Reading 488

Chapter 10 NEO Personality Inventory 489

History and Development 490

Reliability and Validity 491

Assets and Limitations 493

Use with Diverse Groups 494

Interpretation Procedure 495

Recommended Reading 512

Chapter 11 The Rorschach 513

History and Development 514

Reliability and Validity 518

Assets and Limitations 523

Use with Diverse Groups 527

Comprehensive System: Administration 528

Comprehensive System: Coding 531

Comprehensive System: Scoring the Structural Summary 536

Comprehensive System: Interpretation 539

R-PAS: Administration 581

R-PAS: Coding 584

R-PAS: Scoring the Structural Summary 592

R-PAS: Interpretation 593

Recommended Reading 614

Chapter 12 Screening for Neuropsychological Impairment 615

History and Development 617

Interviewing for Brain Impairment 620

Domains of Neuropsychological Functioning 624

Bender Visual-Motor Gestalt Test, Second Edition 633

Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status Update 645

Recommended Reading 652

Chapter 13 Brief Instruments for Treatment Planning, Monitoring, and Outcome Assessment 653

Selecting Brief Instruments 654

Symptom Checklist-90-R and Brief Symptom Inventory 655

Beck Depression Inventory–II 662

State Trait Anxiety Inventory 666

Recommended Reading 670

Chapter 14 Treatment Planning and Clinical Decision Making 671

Development and Approaches to Treatment Planning 672

Intervention Options 677

Clinical Decision Making 679

Case Formulation 680

Understanding the Problems 683

Understanding Problem Context 692

Treatment-Specific Client Characteristics 696

The Systematic Treatment Selection (STS)/Innerlife Approach 703

Recommended Reading 705

Chapter 15 The Psychological Report 707

General Guidelines 708

Feedback 728

Format for a Psychological Report 730

Sample Reports 743

Recommended Reading 772

Appendix A Test Publishers/Distributors 773

Appendix B Testing Organizations 777

References 779

Author Index 857

Subject Index 895

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"In the 5th edition of his very helpful text, Handbook of Psychological Assessment, Groth-Marnat once again assembles information about the history, development, and latest research on the major psychological assessment instruments in current use. He also gives wise and clear advice about the general process of clinical assessment, and about how to integrate information into a useful psychological report. I was particularly fascinated with the sample reports Groth-Marnat assembled from different settings, which give a sense of the breadth of assessment practice today.
This handbook will be extremely useful to students beginning their careers in psychological assessment, and to experienced assessors who want a handy resource when needed."
Dr. Stephen Finn

"This Handbook is absolutely at the top of the “to read” list, or should be, for serious scholars of psychological measurement methods.  Already known for its attention to detail and it’s depth, this edition of the Handbook has been given greater breadth through the addition of several great features:  1) The literature has been critically updated, 2) sections for working with special populations have been added, and 3) its content is tuned to important changes in the field.  In all this, it has retained Groth-Marnat’s great clarity and devotion to being accurate and useful."
Larry E. Beutler, PhD, ABPP; Stanford University School of Medicine

Betram H. Rothschild

[The book's] purpose has been splendidly realized by Groth-Marnat, who has combined current scientific and clinical understandings in clear writing with an excellent sense of organization.

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