Brief Self-Report Inventories for psychologists


Brief Self-Report Inventories for psychologists

Brief self reported  inventory is  one of the psychological  test tool that is used by psychologists to  determine the personality traits, behaviors and symptoms associated with any of the personality types or mental disorders  to gain  more insights into a personal personality  or  health status (Asner-Self,  Schreiber,  Marotta, 2006). These tests are in form of questionnaires and can be answered in 15 minutes.  Example is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). This paper delineates on the situations that brief inventory can be used and some of its advantages as well as disadvantages.

As stated, brief inventory may be used in various situations one of the situations where this brief inventory would be appropriate is when testing for individual personality. People have different personalities and many of them are not aware of this. Therefore, using this inventory will help an individual to identify the kind of personality he or she is. Understanding ones personality is important in various circumstances such as when choosing a course to study and at the work place. It also enables an individual to relate well with others because one is able to control and moderate his or her own behaviors.

Brief inventory would be inappropriate instrument to use when assessing the symptoms or the health status of an individual.   Medical practitioners to assess the symptoms of the patients use the instrument.  Various questions are normally asked through questionnaires whereby the client is required to answer. This tool may not be appropriate because, an individual is likely to exaggerate the symptoms in order to make the situation appear worse to get favors from the medical practitioners (Groth-Marnat, 2009).  Likewise, some of the individuals are also likely to understate or report the severity of their symptoms to minimize or to conceal their problems. This therefore, may lead to misrepresentation or misinformation leading to skewness of assessment. This is a very serious challenge associated with the use of this tool in healthier and it should not be used in isolation to ensure that these deviation and misrepresentation do not occur.  Nevertheless, brief self-report inventories may be counterproductive in measuring the behaviors of an individual if the questionnaires are answered with high level of sincerity or trust. Therefore, individuals need to provide correct answers to the questions if they wish to have a balanced representation of who they are.

The two challenges inherent in relying on self-report data from brief inventories are they are very tedious and long hence a challenge in their analysis and may not present the right information about the individual because of deception.   Some of the brief inventory are very long and therefore requires a lot of time for the individual to complete them(Anastasi & Urbina, 2009).  They are also tedious in analyzing them something that may lead to some of the respondents failing to answer some of the questions. Such challenges may then compromise on their capacity to be relied on. The person analyzing them may also become tired and fail to analyze them well leading to skewness of results. The fact that the brief inventories are done by an individual, the chances of deception are high. People cannot be best judges of their own behaviors and therefore, they try to hide some of their own feelings, attitudes and thoughts. Therefore, relying on such brief inventories is a challenge as the outcome may not be a representation of reality.

In conclusion, self-brief inventories are good tools in measuring behavior, personality traits and symptoms of individuals if they are well used. Trust and sincerity is what determines their success. The challenges of using these self-brief inventories are risk of deception and tedious and long tests that may cause boredom and answering of questions inaccurately.



Anastasi, A., & Urbina, S. (2009). Psychological testing (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ:           Prentice Hall. Chapter 13, “Self Report Personality Inventories,” (pp. 348–385)

Asner-Self, K.K., Schreiber, J.B., Marotta, S.A. (2006). A cross-cultural analysis of the Brief        Symptom Inventory-18. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology 12(2), 367–        375.

Groth-Marnat, G. (2009). Handbook of psychological assessment (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John    Wiley & Sons. Chapter 13, “Brief Instruments for Treatment Planning, Monitoring, and    Outcome Assessment,” (pp 519–533)



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