Problems in Personality Testing
General Problems in Personality Testing
Personality tests can help clinical psychologists and therapists dealing with a patient who wants to improve his life situation and actions. It can help others to understand their personality and, where appropriate, to change it. Before deciding that a patient can be released from the hospital, the patient's recovery must be evaluated, sometimes by personality types.
As you can see, personality testing is very important to the studying and research of personality, but there are many questions that testers need to keep in mind. Are the test results upsetting the test taker? Are the respondents pretending to be good when taking tests? Does it affect the accuracy of the results? What techniques of investigating personality are likely to invade privacy? Other than these, there are many other factors affecting personality testing. We will now introduce them to you.
Stability of Personality
Changes in life circumstances can change one's personality and behavior greatly, and this will affect the validity of personality tests.
A long-term study was conducted to demonstrate the stability or personality of normal teens. In the end it was found that there were both consistency and change in personality of different people. Reassessed at age 40, some of them had fairly the same personality when compared with those recorded in their early teens, but other had changed a lot from the earlier personality.
Problems in Self-report
The self-report is presented by the person himself. Honest answers can be hoped for when the tester is trying help the test taker solve his problems, but even then, it is natural for the test taker to give answers that will be judged favorably insofar as they can guess the tester's standards for judgment. This will greatly affect the results of tests.
This problem is observable from this incident: Health questionnaires were given to some industrial workers, and the filled-out questionnaires were sent to the company medical department to assist the department in improving the workers' health. Another pile of identical questionnaires were given to another group of industrial workers and the responses were mailed directly to a research team at a university. The workers listed far more symptoms on the second questionnaires than the first one, although an honest report to the medical department can bring them medical help while the second questionnaire would not.