, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 182-197
Date: 15 May 2009

Inaccuracies About the MMPI-2 Fake Bad Scale in the Reply by Ben-Porath, Greve, Bianchini, and Kaufman (2009)

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Based on a focused review and careful analysis of a large amount of published research, Butcher et al. (Psychol Inj and Law 1(3):191–209, 2008) concluded that the Fake Bad Scale (FBS) does not appear to be a sufficiently reliable or valid measure of the construct “faking bad”. Butcher et al. (Psychol Inj and Law 1(3):191–209, 2008) pointed out examples of errors in some of the most widely cited studies (including meta-analytic) used to support the FBS and described potential biases if the FBS is used to impute the motivation to malinger in those reaching its variable and imprecise cutoff scores. In a response to this article, Ben-Porath et al. (Psychol Inj Law 2:62–85, 2009) dismissed all the concerns raised in it with suggestions that our conclusions were based on faulty premises, misunderstandings of basic concepts, misleading descriptions of Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) research, flawed analyses, and so on. This reply corrects some of Ben-Porath and colleagues’ (Psychol Inj Law 2:62–85, 2009) multiple misrepresentations of the points made in Butcher et al. (Psychol Inj and Law 1(3):191–209, 2008) and identifies eight logical fallacies relevant to the FBS controversy. We end with a challenge to other psychologists to fully examine the underlying FBS research before adopting this scale in their clinical practice.

Disclosure statement: Butcher, Williams, and Cumella worked on the development of the MMPI-2 and/or MMPI-A; none receives royalties from sales of those instruments or their scales. None of the authors received consultant fees or other personal income for their contributions to this article. Butcher is the author of an interpretive system for the MMPI-2, the Minnesota Report. The author royalties for the Minnesota Reports are 30% of the royalties the University of Minnesota receives from Pearson Assessments from its net sales and are well in excess of $10,000 annually. Butcher receives the full amount for the personnel and forensic systems, shares half with his coauthor of the adolescent system (Williams), and voluntarily assigned 5% to Williams for her consultation on the Adult Clinical System. His part time practice includes forensic cases and he has testified fairly evenly for plaintiffs and defense. Since 1996, he has had nine cases involving the Fake Bad Scale, four in 2008 (two pro bono). Williams splits the author royalties from the Minnesota Reports with Butcher as described above. She is a consultant to Butcher’s practice and receives income from that. Her work does not include expert witness testimony. Disclosure statements for Butcher and Williams appear at http://www1.umn.edu/mmpi/disclosure.php. Gass derives 10% to 15% of his total professional income from his private practice and approximately 75% of this activity is based on defense work. Cumella and Kally are full-time employees at Remuda Program for Eating Disorders and do not receive other compensation related to the content of this article.
An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12207-009-9058-z