MMPI-2 profiles of clients with substance dependencies accessing a therapeutic community treatment facility

Anne-Maree Polimeni, Susan May Moore, Stefan Gruenert


The aim of the study was to describe the psychological profile, as measured by the MMPI-2, of 921 clients assessed after five weeks admission to a Therapeutic Community (TC). Overall, the profile of the sample showed prominent peaks reflecting character disorder (high Pd) and disturbed thinking and affect (high Sc). The validity scales suggested that the sample was admitting to personal and emotional difficulties and requesting assistance with these problems. The psychotic triad was somewhat more elevated than the neurotic triad indicating distress about behaviours or symptoms related to psychotic disorders. Psychopathology was greater for women, who reported significantly higher scores on confusion (F), hypochondriasis (Hs), character disorder (Pd), and hysteria (Hy) than men, although the shape of male and female MMPI-2 profiles was similar. Those aged up to 35 years scored significantly higher on five clinical scales (depression (D), character disorder (Pd), paranoia (Pa), psychopathic deviate (Pd) and schizophrenia (Sc)) than an older (over 35) group; they also significantly differed on all the validity scales from their older counterparts. Clients who completed the MMPI-2 at five weeks but stayed less than four months at the TC were more likely to be younger, female and admit to psychopathology (lower K-defensiveness scores, higher mania) than those who went on to complete the first phase of treatment. The results suggest that substance dependent clients seeking treatment at a TC exhibit considerable psychological disturbance; more so for females and the younger cohort.

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Therapeutic community; Dual diagnosis; Substance dependency; Mental health; MMPI-2

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ISSN 1832-7931
Swinburne University of Technology