Remote psychological testing involves internet-delivered administration of a psychological test at a remote location rather than in-person testing administered by a practitioner or a trained assistant. It is an emerging practice trend discussed in the literature as a subset of services labeled telepsychology, telepractice, and telemedicine (among other terms).
This guidance is intended for practitioners considering remote MMPI administration. Users are encouraged to consult the American Psychological Association’s Guidelines for the Practice of Telepsychology (2013) for general guidance on telepsychological practice and specific assessment guidelines and Pearson’s Telepractice: General Information for information on telepractice using Pearson’s Q-global platform.
The APA Guidelines for the Practice of Telepsychology encourage psychologists to consider the unique issues that may arise with instruments and assessment approaches designed for in-person implementation when providing telepsychology services. The APA Guidelines state:
When a psychological test or other assessment procedure is conducted via telepsychology, psychologists are encouraged to ensure that the integrity of the psychometric properties of the test or assessment procedure (e.g., reliability and validity) and the conditions of administration indicated in the test manual are preserved when adapted for use with such technologies. (Joint Task Force for the Development of Telepsychology Guidelines for Psychologists, 2013, p. 798)
There is ample evidence that the reliability and validity of MMPI test scores are preserved when the test is administered by computer or tablet (e.g., Finger & Ones, 1999; Forbey & Ben-Porath, 2007; Menton et al., 2019; Roper, Ben-Porath, & Butcher, 1995). The second recommendation, that the conditions of administration indicated in the test manual are preserved, is the key challenge associated with remote MMPI administration.
Administration guidelines articulated in the various MMPI instrument manuals identify the need for supervised test administration. For example, the MMPI-2-RF administration guidelines indicate:
The Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (Standard 5.6) require that test users make reasonable efforts to protect the integrity of test scores by eliminating opportunities for test takers to obtain scores fraudulently. Although the MMPI‑2‑RF is a self-administered test, completion of the inventory should be supervised by a qualified user or a technician working under the supervision of a qualified user. Adequate supervision ensures that the test taker completes the inventory on his or her own, that any unusual events that may occur during testing are recorded and can be considered in the
interpretation of the test results, and that conditions conducive to obtaining optimally valid information are maintained. Supervision does not require that the individual administering the test be in the same room as the test taker throughout the session,
although it is desirable that the test taker be within the supervisor’s line of sight. MMPI‑2‑RF materials should not be sent home with test takers nor, in institutional settings, should test takers be allowed to complete the instrument in their rooms or anywhere else where supervision is not possible. The standards (5.7) also state that test users are responsible for protecting the security of test materials at all times. (Ben-Porath & Tellegen, 2008/2011, p. 19)
When relying on remote test administration of the MMPI instruments, these recommendations can best be followed by reliance on an on-site proctor. The APA Guidelines for the Practice of Telepsychologyindicate that:
psychologists may consider the use of a trained assistant (e.g., proctor) to be on premise at the remote location in an effort to help verify the identity of the client/patient, provide needed on-site support to administer certain tests or subtests, and protect the security of the psychological testing and/or assessment process. (Joint Task Force for the Development of Telepsychology Guidelines for Psychologists, 2013, p. 798)
If feasible, the availability of an on-site proctor to carry out the tasks just described would best meet the need for supervised MMPI administration. If this is not feasible, remote supervision can be accomplished via audio-visual monitoring following the practices outlined in Pearson’s guidance on Administering the MMPI Instruments via Telepractice. Specifically, the test-taker should be seated so they can be observed onscreen by the individual supervising the remote administration, and audio should be enabled allowing the test administrator and test taker to communicate. Appropriate precautions should be taken to properly identify the test taker. Any unusual events that may occur during testing should be noted and considered in the interpretation of test results.
Practitioners planning to conduct remote MMPI testing should consult and adhere to laws and regulations governing the practice of psychology and telepsychology in their jurisdiction of practice, as well as all applicable federal laws and regulations. In addition, the American Psychological Association provides a checklist for telepsychological services and an informed consent checklist for telepsychological services, which may be of assistance.
Ben-Porath, Y. S., & Tellegen, A. (2008/2011). MMPI-2-RF: Manual for administration, scoring and interpretation. University of Minnesota Press.
Finger, M. S., & Ones, D. S. (1999). Psychometric equivalence of the computer and booklet forms of the MMPI: A metaanalysis. Psychological Assessment, 11(1), 58–66. https://doi.org/10.1037/1040-3518.104.22.168
Forbey, J. D., & Ben-Porath, Y. S. (2007). Computerized adaptive personality testing: A review and illustration with the MMPI-2 Computerized Adaptive Version. Psychological Assessment, 19(1), 14–24. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/1040-3522.214.171.124
Joint Task Force for the Development of Telepsychology Guidelines for Psychologists. (2013). Guidelines for the practice of telepsychology. American Psychologist, 68(9), 791–800. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0035001
Menton, W. H., Crighton, A. H., Tarescavage, A. M., Marek, R. J., Hicks, A. D., & Ben-Porath, Y. S. (2019). Equivalence of Laptop and Tablet Administrations of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 Restructured Form. Assessment, 26(4), 661–669. https://doi.org/10.1177/1073191117714558
Roper, B. L., Ben-Porath, Y. S., & Butcher, J. N. (1995). Comparability and validity of computerized adaptive testing with the MMPI-2. Journal of Personality Assessment, 65, 358–371. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327752jpa6502_10