MMPI-3 Scale Predictors of Reactions To Ostracism In a Sample of Racially Diverse College Students

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We examined the ability of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-3 (MMPI-3) scales to predict reflexive reactions to rejection elicited via a Cyberball task. In an effort to expand the criterion-related and incremental validity knowledge of the MMPI-3, we specifically focused on scale associations with the following adverse reflexive reactions: feelings of rejection, low positive and high negative affect, and high perceived threats to social needs. We hypothesized 10 substantive scales that assess negative emotionality, self-esteem, paranoia, and interpersonal difficulties to be positively associated with these adverse reactions, while we expected four scales indicative of interpersonal antagonism to be inversely related. The sample included 180 undergraduate students (80.6% female, 17.2% male; 59.5% White, 40.5% people of color), and analyses were conducted using the full sample and race-based subsamples. Results partially supported hypotheses, most notably in the case of indicators of mood/negative emotionality, Self-Doubt, and Self-Importance. Results were largely consistent across race-based subsamples with some notable exceptions. Our findings provide support for the validity of the MMPI-3 scales and their ability to assess reactions to an interpersonal stressor via a behavioral paradigm. Limitations (e.g., reliance on college student sample) and future directions (e.g., need for replication with larger samples) are discussed.

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