James N. Butcher and Paolo Pancheri A HANDBOOK OF CROSS-NATIONAL MMPI RESEARCH Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 1976, 470 pp.. $20.
This is a highly technical, complex volume reporting a number of cross-national studies on the use of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). The authors deal in detail with a number of the issues concerning the validity of using an instrument developed in the American Midwest in populations with widely different cultural backgrounds. Among these are the problem of the interpretation of the test items into a different language and the translation of the content of each item into a culturally relevant meaning.
The authors present in detail a number of examples of their comparisons across different cultures of the test responses of a variety of personality types and diagnostic entities. While this is not a volume for the average clinical user of the MMPI, it is useful for the clinician, as well as the MMPI expert, in giving him a feel for the difficulties and the limitations of the use of the MMPI in different cultural and language contexts.
As with so much research with the MMPI, one continues to be astonished by its ability to pick up valid aspects of personality functioning in spite of the limitations and questions raised by the authors in the first part of the volume. The empirical derivation of the instrument seems to grow in stature and importance with each attempt to expand its use. One cannot ignore the extensive clinical experience of an Italian clinician like Pancheri, who documents in detail the validity of the use of the MMPI in his patients at the University of Rome Psychiatric Clinic. This is definitely not a volume for the average clinician, but it is, I believe, a must for every serious student of the MMPi.