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Psicothema

ISSN Paper Edition: 0214-9915  

2004. Vol. 16, nº 2 , p. 336-339
Copyright © 2014


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COMMISSIONED REVIEWS OF 250 PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTS (VOLS. 1 AND 2)

 

John Maltby, Christopher Alan Lewis and Andrew Hill

Lewiston: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2000

If the level of a science should be judged by the development of its measurement, Psychology should be without any doubt one of the most advanced sciences. We can see this rapid growth in the impressive expansion of new psychometric methods and in the unfolding of new scales, questionnaires and tests. Usually the contribution of a new psychological theory implies one or more new scales to measure new constructs.

 
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Reviewed by:
Josep L. Melià
University of Valencia

 

We can not overestimate the importance of these measurement instruments in the contrast of psychological theories or in the practices of professional assessment and intervention. The tests, scales and questionnaires make psychological ideas operative and connect the deep world of speculative thinking with the empirical world of facts. A theory without measures is only philosophy, but, in fact, a psychological measurement instrument with the help of some data may contribute seriously to the development of a psychological theory. Tests, questionnaires and scales define an important part of psychological facts.

The close connection between the development of Psychology and the development of the measurement instruments can be seen in the increasing number of tests, scales and questionnaires devoted to the measurement of new variables in all areas of Psychology. In most of these areas, actualized and accurate research and professional practice is unthinkable without taking into account the flow of new instruments. Frequently professionals, academics and students know the most classic instruments very well, but unfortunately, the access to new contributions, spread by hundreds of journals and other sources, is difficult. Therefore, a comprehensive review of the main contributions of research on new measurements is essential.

«Commissioned Reviews of 250 Psychological Tests» is a two-volume comprehensive collection of more than 300 reviews of tests, scales and questionnaires published in research from the nineties and classified in seven general areas.

As Michael W. Eysenck said in the preface of the first volume, «it is probable that most researchers are less likely to be aware of recent psychological tests than of well-established tests, and so the book provides a valuable resource for all researchers who find that their congested professional lives preclude perusing the current literature as fully as they would like to do». The two-volume book provides a thorough overview of psychological tests developed during the 1990’s, including many new measurement instruments found in the research journals but not available in a commercially published form. It is designed as a reference for researchers and professionals in school, counseling, clinical, social and organizational psychology.

Each chapter contains the reviews of a selection of measurement instruments within the corresponding area. The following information is provided for each test: the test title and acronym, authors, variable or variables measured, description of the instrument, purposes, contents and items description, sample or samples in which the instrument has been validated, reliability studies, validity studies, location of the instrument, observations or additional comments, references and reviewer, including their address. In most cases the reader will find the address of the test author.

Review of Commissioned Reviews of 250 Psychological Tests (Volume 1):

Volume one includes three chapters: 1) Health Psychology: attitudes, behaviors and experiences, 2) Cognitive Psychology: Cognitions, Coping and Ability and 3) Personality and Individual Differences.

In Chapter one, 47 tests, scales and questionnaires related to health psychology are selected for presentation. The topics covered in this area can be classified in nine main subareas. In some cases more than one scale or questionnaire is described for a specific topic. These are the nine subareas and the topics included:

Substance use and abuse: Use of alcohol and implication in therapy, self-efficacy for avoiding drinking, readiness to change harmful drinking behavior, beliefs about medicines, substance misuse and injecting risk.

Food disorders: Symptoms of eating disorders, food choice, emotional eating, and attitudes towards chocolate.

Sports attitudes and experiences: Athlete satisfaction and feelings and thoughts during running and aerobic activity.

Body care experiences, attitudes and behaviors: Attention to body shape, body attitude, body investment, body consciousness and anxiety experienced when one’s body is perceived to be evaluated by others.

Physical exercise: Behavioral regulation in exercise, physical activity experience (flow), exercise motivation, lifetime total physical activity and physical activity for the elderly.

Health experience and attitudes: General health status, mental and physical health, lifestyle appraisal and stress reduction.

Sex: Female sexual activity and sexual satisfaction and sexual dysfunction among heterosexual couples.

Physical diseases experiences and attitudes: Coping with health injuries and problems, pain beliefs and perceptions, breast cancer and hereditary knowledge, cognitions in infertility, infertility distress and attributions for common somatic symptoms.

Mental and psychological diseases: Knowledge about epilepsy, panic disorder and symptoms and agoraphobia.

Patient reactions to treatments: Patient satisfaction with doctors, perceived quality of care from the patient’s perspective, acceptability of psychological treatments and acceptability of psychological and pharmacological treatments for late life depression.

In volume one, the second chapter is devoted to the scales classified as cognitive psychology. Thirty-five tests and scales are described. The scope of the variables measured in this area is heterogeneous and difficult to classify in clear subareas. Among them can be found: cognitive flexibility, cognitive style, goals, choices and responsibility, coping strategies and coping styles, defense styles and mechanisms, dimensions of coping behaviors, strategies to cope with homesickness, coping styles or tendencies in current or past romantic relationships that cause stress, coping strategies for the prodromes of mania, appraisal of live events and problems, coping and satisfaction with activities of daily living, hostile automatic thoughts, automatic positive self-statements, personal hopefulness for the immediate future, internal, personal and situational attributions, perceived stress and coping, aggressive, prosocial and withdrawal problem-solving strategies, state level of the goal-direction cognition, hope state and trait, fear of fear and agoraphobic cognitions, impaired self-awareness for persons with traumatic brain injury, pathological and non-pathological dissociative experience and symptoms, task orientation and ego orientation in the perception of success in sports, self-referential goal-directed thinking in children, concern about everyday memory in elderly, belief in good luck, moral cognitions, forgiveness of others, forgiveness of self, visual and kinaesthetic imagery ability, use of imagery by athletes, exercise imagery, reminiscence functions, concentration of attention, vigilance and emotive aspects of risk taking while operating a motor vehicle.

The third and last chapter of volume 1 is concerned with tests on the psychology of the personality and individual differences. 68 tests and questionnaires are included in the chapter. The specific topics measured by the scales, tests and questionnaires included in this area are difficult to classify due to the close relationship among the topics on personality. In a broad way, these specific topics can be reordered in the following four general subareas: traits and styles of the personality, social aspects of the personality, personality disorders and specific topics related to religious tendencies.

Traits and styles of the personality: Factors and traits of personality (several tests and scales), temperament, «the big five», emotional intelligence, neuroticism, extroversion, openness to experience, perfectionism, motivational style, Jung’s psychological types, adult attachment patterns, self-actualization of potential, susceptibility to hypnosis, noise sensitivity, free will or determinism beliefs, folk-concepts of personality which possess broad personal and social relevance, life values, voluntary simplicity life-style, state sport confidence.

Social aspects of the personality: Social behavior and social status, fundamental interpersonal relations orientation-behavior, interpersonal trust, interpersonal competitiveness in everyday contexts (index of competitiveness), receptiveness to dissimilar others (diversity of life experience), sociopathy and autonomy, kindness, level of self-disclosure, concealment, interpersonal guilt, machiavellism, sensitivity to criticism, susceptibility to embarrassment, loneliness, preference for solitude and sexual boredom.

Personality disorders and related topics: Personality disorders (several questionnaires), personality deviance, nonadaptive personality, schizotipical personality, schizotypy traits, exposure to violence and trauma, guilt, aggression, antisocial personality, coping for stressful situations, life-history of aggression, disposition to become angry while driving, anger reaction to provocations, school anger for males, disgust sensitivity and self-serving cognitive distortion.

Religious topics: religious orientation, attitude towards Christianity, internal and external religious coping cognitions and behaviors.

Review of Commissioned Reviews of 250 Psychological Tests (Volume 2):

Volume two contains chapters four to seven. This volume is devoted to 4) Social psychology: attitudes, beliefs and interpersonal relationships, 5) Psychological well-being, 6) Developmental psychology: childhood, families, adulthood and aging, and 7) Work and educational psychology.

Chapter 4 is devoted to social psychology: attitudes, beliefs and interpersonal relationships, and presents 26 reviews.

A first group of reviewed questionnaires are related with gender, couple and family relationships. These questionnaires measure the following variables: couples’ critical incidents, attitudes toward sexuality, gender role trait adscriptions as an aspect of self-concept, gender identity, gender role journey, commitment in married couples, gender identity, femininity, masculinity, phases of men’s and woman’s gender role journeys and family allocentrism-idiocentrism (individual’s connectedness to his or her family).

A second group of questionnaires are related with self-image and expression, including measures of emotional expressivity, conversational experience, self-differentiation, independent/interdependent self-image, individual’s identification with a sport team and body image preoccupation.

The main group of questionnaires are related with several dimensions of social relationships. These instruments measure variables like central relationship patterns, types of social support, individualistic and collective dimensions, sense of community, interpersonal commitment, informal peer groups in adolescence, tendency to betray interpersonal relationships, tendency to join and maintain memberships in diverse groups, beliefs in a just world, life values for decisions regarding work, education, relationships and leisure, symbolic racism, social life with neighborhoods, intrapersonal-empowerment, social climate in informal adolescent peer groups and attitudes and knowledge about mental retardation.

Chapter 5 is devoted to psychological well-being and covers 47 measurement instruments.

Some of the questionnaires in this chapter are concerned with general psychological constructs related to the social aspects of the personality. This chapter reviews scales in this area about self-concept, self-esteem, self-harm, role functioning, general behavior and symptom identification, interpersonal styles, codependency and constructed meaning related to the coping process. Nevertheless the majority of the reviewed scales are more closely concerned with psychopathological manifestations.

Many of the scales and questionnaires cover the main area of anxiety. Questionnaires in this area measure anxiety and traits of anxiety, health anxiety, anxious arousal, stress/tension, mood, states of anxiety and , general distress, affective, behavioral and cognitive distress manifestations, worry and anxiety, micro and macro worries, pathological worry, non-pathological worry domains and shame and guilt proneness.

Some pathological manifestations related to anxiety are also covered, including panic disorder, panic and phobia related to agoraphobic situations, social-phobic situations and interoceptive-sensations, fear of anxiety, fear of pain, catastrophic thinking associated with pain, anxious thoughts, and catastrophic cognitions.

The area of depression is also treated, reviewing scales oriented to measure depression, depression/happiness, depressed mood, death depression and anhedonic depression.

Other more severe disorders are also covered: maniac-depressive symptoms, acute confusion, delirium, paranoid ideation and behavior, death obsession, obsessive compulsive traits, suspiciousness, and dissociative experiences.

The mental-well being and quality of life, especially for persons suffering from different pathologies, are also represented. We can find the review of scales oriented to measure mental well-being, quality of life, quality of life of people with mental illness, quality of life of people with a life-threatening illness, quality of life in depression and social adjustment for the severely mentally ill.

Finally, chapter 5 covers some scales and questionnaires related to clinical pathologies and difficulties in childhood, among them childhood depression, children’s post-traumatic symptoms, diagnostic for incest survivors and children’s social phobia and anxiety.

Chapter 6 is devoted to developmental psychology: childhood, families, adulthood and aging and reviews 37 scales and questionnaires.

Children characteristics and behaviors are measured by this first grouping of the questionnaires reviewed, including: children’s aggressive, withdrawn and prosocial behavior with peers, children’s perceptions of friendship processes and satisfaction, social and academic competence, mental disorders of young children, children’s psychiatric syndromes, subclassification of children with autism, physical aggression, hyperactivity, inattention, opposition, anxiety and prosociality, social competence, prosocial orientation and social initiative, children’s eating attitudes, child and therapist positive and negative behaviors in child therapy, preschool children’s social and nonsocial play behaviors and temperament of newborn children.

A second group of the reviewed questionnaires measures variables related with adolescent development: adolescent symptomatology and adjustment difficulties, adolescent home and school situations, social and academic competence, adolescent self-image, victimization, aggressiveness, behavior problems, home experiences and anti social attitudes, moral judgement development, attributed level of influence to five sources of moral authority, sociability, social desirability, self-perception, ideal public self, self-description, ideal private self and communication of events.

In a third group we find many questionnaires measuring variables related with adulthood, family and parental behavior. The reviewed questionnaires measures variables like adult attachment, attachment style, factors in attachment and object relations, experienced phenomena in the bereaved, family functioning, family attitudes and behaviors, family satisfaction, empowerment in families, premarital personal and relationship evaluation, comprehensive premarital assessment of individual and couple traits predictive of marital satisfaction, maternal and paternal antenatal attachment, knowledge of pregnant serum screening, attachment between the mother or father and the infant under the age of 1 year, marital satisfaction and commitment, marital intimacy, parental knowledge of parenting skills, parental satisfaction with a community child and adolescent mental health services; stress and positive and negative aspects associated with raising children.

Chapter 7 includes reviews of work and educational psychology. It contains 44 reviews about questionnaires devoted to the measuring of the following four areas: learning and education, aptitudes, work processes and work health and safety.

The first group includes questionnaires devoted to the measure of the following variables: learning processes and associated motives and intentions, motivation and learning strategies, inclination and ability to engage in self-directed learning, attitudes toward career counseling, dysfunctional thoughts in career problem solving and decision making, career decidedness, indecision, learning environment in educational settings, students’ domain specific optimism for medium-term goals, children’s beliefs about their ability to cope with school situations, students’ attitudes toward statistics, student’s evaluations of teaching quality, teacher beliefs in early childhood education, teachers’ perceptions of their offers of help being rejected by their peers and/or students, communication ease for deaf students, bullying and victimization in schools and adolescent problems in several areas.

A second group is comprised of some questionnaires related to the measure of aptitudes: clerical worker aptitude (numerical ability, verbal comprehension, working memory), technician aptitudes (numerical ability, verbal comprehension, spatial ability, visualization ability and error checking), fill-in concept maps measuring connected understanding of discipline concepts, self-efficacy regarding research, learning, proving and avoiding dimensions of work domain goal orientation, computer expertise, and reading, arithmetic and writing skills in children.

Some of the questionnaires concern different aspects of organizational functioning. Two themes are mainly included: ethics and power. Related to ethics we can be find questionnaires measuring: ethical climate in work settings, ethical autonomy (political, working life and business), ethics environment at work, perceived occupational discrimination against Black Americans and perceived occupational opportunity for Black Americans. Power and relationships with superiors is another well represented area. The variables measured by the reviewed questionnaires include: formal and informal power in organizations, employees’ perceptions of career management practices, attitudes toward compliance with inappropriate requests from superiors, perceived level of worker empowerment and causal attributions for occupational outcomes. In this group of the organizational area questionnaires measuring several variables can be considered: hospital social work self-efficacy, nursing encouragement and control techniques used to care for elderly subjects with symptom distress in an institutional setting and impact of information technology on work.

Finally, some of the reviewed questionnaires concern aspects of health and safety at work: work and team safety attitudes, safety climate within a work group or division, safety climate in organizations, supervisors and middle management safety response, coworkers and team work safety response, worker safety behavior, base risk, real risk, physical work load during work, combined load of paid work and unpaid duties, work related tension, facets of job ambiguity and work addition risk.

Conclusion

The selection of recent tests published or validated in the last decade and the international nature of the contributions are two strong points of the book. In fact, the book includes contributions from more than 250 psychologists from more than 20 countries. The rationale for choosing this particular collection of instruments is not clearly specified, except to say that these instruments were published in the nineties. There is no other comprehensive review of tests and questionnaires of such breath published in that time. The wide range of measurement instruments considered represents a cross-section of subject ages, settings and psychological purposes.

The editors have managed to persuade many measurement instrument developers to prepare most of the reviews. Authors self-reviewing their own instruments are well acquainted to communicate the latest developments and results with regard to these generally recent instruments. Knowledge about psychometric properties and validation results are granted. Nevertheless a possible limitation of some test reviewers is the failure to mention a broader list of references about their use and research. On the contrary, the reader may expect an independent and critical review of the instruments that in some cases would be a recommended complement.

As in most edited books, some variation in degree of depth and detail of information can be found, but the editors have made a strong effort to assure that the common structure of the reviews allows the reader to comprehend the central information in all of the areas. The references and the addresses of the authors provide the opportunity of a more sound study of each scale.

In a book of this nature, covering such a vast range of psychological areas, establishing a classification of the contributions based on their content is important for the reader who is interested in easily find what has been published on certain subject. Probably some of the contributions can be placed in different chapters and introducing a subclassification within each chapter becomes hard to decide. Editors introduce only a very general classification in seven broad coverage chapters, several of them mixing well established psychological areas (for example, chapter 7 includes both work psychology and educational psychology). Inside each chapter contributions are disposed by alphabetical order. The «author of tests index» and the «subject and test index», at the end of the second volume, help the reader, partially palliating these difficulties.

This important two-volume book may be considered a necessary complement of the Mental Measurement Yearbook series (Kramer & Conoley, 1992), the Test Critiques series (Keyser & Sweetland, 1994) and the Test in Print series (Murphy, Conoley & Impara, 1994) and others (Newmark, 1989)

As Michael W. Eysenck says in the preface «It often seems to me that the acid test of a book is whether you personally would find it valuable to have it on the shelves so that you could refer to it at frequent intervals. This book triumphantly satisfies that criterion so far as I am concerned, and I am very confident that it will do the same for all those who read this book.»

In my opinion this two volume book is a must for all the libraries of the schools and departments of psychology and a necessary guide to choose the most recent measurement instruments.


References

Cramer, J.J. and Conoley J.C. (1992) The Eleventh Mental Measurements Yearbook. Lincoln, EN: University of Nebraska Press.

Keyser, D.J. and Sweetland, R.C. (1994) Test critiques (Vol X). Austin, TX: PRO-ED.

Maltby, J., Lewis, C.A. & Hill, A. (2000) Commissioned Reviews of 250 Psychological tests. Lewiston: The Edwin Mellen Press. (Vol 1 and 2).

Murphy, L.L., Conoley, J.C. and Impara J.C. (1994) Test in Print IV: An index of tests, tests reviews and the literature on specific tests. Lincoln, EN: Buros Institute of Mental Measurements, 1994.

Newmark, C. S. (1989) Major Psychological Assessment Instruments Boston: Allyn and Bacon (Vols. 1 and 2).

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