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PAI - Personality Assessment Inventory

Leslie C. Morey, PhD

This objective inventory of adult personality assesses psychopathological syndromes and provides information relevant for clinical diagnosis, treatment planning and screening for psychopathology.

Features and benefits

It is a unique and efficient scale structure. All 22 scales are non-overlapping, promoting high discriminant validity. The scale development was content-driven.

Fast, cost-effective administration. The clients usually complete the 344 items in less than an hour. It can be used with people with low reading levels. The PAI only requires a 4th-grade level of reading; an audio administration CD is also available.

No scoring keys needed. A two-part carbonless answer sheet provides the scores for all 344 items. Hand-scoring is fast and easy. Scales and subscales can be hand-scored in only 15-20 minutes.

Provides strategies for interpretation. The professional manual includes an extended discussion on administration considerations, and a variety of strategies for the interpretation of clinical data.

Portable materials. The handy PAI Administration Folio provides a hard surface for the item booklet and the answer sheet for situations in which no desk or tabletop is at disposition.

Test structure
The 344 PAI items constitute 22 non-overlapping scales covering the constructs most relevant to a broad- based assessment of mental disorders: four validity scales, 11 clinical scales, five treatment scales and two interpersonal scales. 10 scales contain conceptually derived subscales to facilitate interpretation and to cover the full range of complex clinical constructs,

Clinical scales provide critical diagnostic features of 11 important clinical constructs. These 11 scales may be divided into three broad classes of disorders: those within the neurotic spectrum, those within the psychotic spectrum, and those associated with behavior disorders or impulse control problems.

Treatment scales indicate potential complications in treatment. These five scales include two indicators of potential for harm to oneself or others, two measures of the respondent’s environmental circumstances, and one indicator of the respondent’s motivation for treatment.

Interpersonal scales provide valuable information regarding the client’s relationships and interactions. Interpersonal style is assessed according to two dimensions: a warm/affiliative style versus a cold/rejecting style, and a dominating/controlling style versus a meekly submissive style.

Two scales assess pathology. The borderline feature scale is the only PAI scale that has four subscales, reflecting the factorial complexity of the construct. The antisocial feature scale includes three subscales: one assessing antisocial behaviors and the other two assessing antisocial traits.

Critical Items form alerts you to issues that require immediate attention. This form lists 27 items (distributed across nine content areas) that suggest behaviors or psychopathology that may demand immediate attention. They are identified as critical based on two criteria: indication of a potential crisis situation, and a very low endorsement rate in normal individuals.

Technical information
The reliability and validity are based on data from an American census. A normative sample of 1,000 adults living in the community, a sample of 1,265 patients from 69 clinical sites, and a college sample of 1,051 students.

Because the PAI was normalised with adults in a variety of clinical and community settings, profiles can be compared with both normal and clinical populations. Reliability studies indicate that the PAI has a high degree of internal consistency among the samples. The results are steady over periods of 2-4 weeks (median alpha and test-retest correlations exceed .80 for the 22 scales).

Validity studies demonstrate convergent and discriminant validity with more than 50 other measures of psychopathology.


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50 to 60 minutes

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18/69 years old

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Personality and Psychopathology

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Individual or in Group