Based on Theodore Millon, Ph.D., D.Sc.’s Evolutionary Theory of personality and psychopathology, the brief Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III (MCMI-III) instrument provides a measure of 24 personality disorders and clinical syndromes for adults undergoing psychological or psychiatric assessment or treatment. Specifically designed to help assess both Axis I and Axis II disorders, this psychological test assists clinicians in psychiatric diagnosis, developing a treatment approach that takes into account the patient’s personality style and coping behavior, and guiding treatment decisions based on the patient’s personality pattern.

The MCMI-III is composed of 175 true-false questions and usually takes the average person less than 30 minutes to complete. After the test is scored, it produces 29 scales — 24 personality and clinical scales, and 5 scales used to verify how the person approached and took the test.

The Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory, 3rd edition (MCMI-III) is an update of the MCMI-II which represents ongoing research, conceptual developments, and the changes in the DSM-IV. It is a standardized, self-report questionnaire assessing a wide range of information related to personality, emotionality, and test-taking attitude. Changes to the MCMI-II include addition of the Depressive and PTSD scales.

The Millon is often given in a clinical setting when questions arise about the specific diagnosis a person may have, or the personality traits or characteristics that the person has that may be impacting their ability to effectively cope with life or a mental health concern. It can readily illuminate personality traits and personality styles far more quickly and effectively than a clinical interview can for most clinicians.

Benefits of the Millon

The MCMI-III is distinguished from other personality tests primarily by its shortness, its theoretical anchoring, multiaxial format, tripartite construction and validation schema, use of base rate scores, and interpretive depth. It is anchored to Millon’s theories of personality and coordinated to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) personality disorders and other major clinical diagnoses.

A part of the MCMI-III is based upon Millon’s theory of personality, as illustrated in the following 15 personality styles and subtypes:

  1. Retiring/Schizoid
  2. Shy/Avoidant
  3. Pessimistic/Melancholic
  4. Cooperative/Dependent
  5. Exuberant/Hypomanic
  6. Sociable/Histrionic
  7. Confident/Narcissistic
  8. Nonconforming/Antisocial
  9. Assertive/Sadistic
  10. Conscientious/Compulsive
  11. Skeptical/Negativistic
  12. Aggrieved/Masochistic
  13. Eccentric/Schizotypal
  14. Capricious/Borderline
  15. Suspicious/Paranoid

What the Millon Measures

There are 90 new items and 85 that remained the same maintaining the 175 total items of the MCMI-II. Most of the changes had to do with the severity of the symptoms to increase the ability to detect pathology. The test consists of 14 personality disorder scales and 10 clinical syndrome scales, each of which helps to determine whether the person may have a personality disorder, or a mental disorder such as depression or anxiety.

The test is broken down into the following scales:

  • Moderate Personality Disorder Scales
    • 1. Schizoid
    • 2A. Avoidant
    • 2B. Depressive
    • 3. Dependent
    • 4. Histrionic
    • 5. Narcissistic
    • 6A. Antisocial
    • 6B. Aggressive (Sadistic)
    • 7. Compulsive
    • 8A. Passive-Aggressive (Negativistic)
    • 8B. Self-Defeating
  • Severe Personality Pathology Scales
    • S. Schizotypal
    • C. Borderline
    • P. Paranoid
  • Moderate Clinical Syndrome Scales
    • A. Anxiety
    • H. Somatoform
    • N. Bipolar: Manic
    • D. Dysthymia
    • B. Alcohol Dependence
    • T. Drug Dependence
    • R. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Severe Syndrome Scales
    • SS. Thought Disorder
    • CC. Major Depression
    • PP. Delusional Disorder

There are also five scales used to help detect careless, confused or random responses on the test. There are three “Modifying Indices” that modify the person’s Base Rate scores based upon the following areas: Disclosure (X), Desirability (Y), Debasement (Z), and two random response indicators — Validity (V) and Inconsistency (W).

The test is brief in comparison to other personality inventories and it has a strong theoretical basis. Some psychologists prefer to give it because the administration and scoring are simple, and it has a multi-axial format. It is shorter than other personality tests, such as the MMPI-2 which has 567 true/false questions. It can be administered and scored on the computer in a psychologist’s office.

For the primary clinical and personality scales, Base Rate scores are calculated from how a person responds to the questions on the test. Scores of 75-84 are taken to indicate a significant personality trait or mental health concern. Scores 85 and higher indicate a persistent, significant clinical concern or personality disorder.

The psychometrics of the MCMI-III are good and it is considered a reliable and valid psychological test. The MCMI-III was normed with psychiatric patients and uses a new weighted score, the Base Rate Score (BRS) that takes into account the prevalence of the specific disorder in the psychiatric population. The normative data and transformation scores are based entirely on clinical samples and are applicable only to individuals who evidence problematic emotional and interpersonal symptoms or who are undergoing professional psychotherapy or a psychodiagnostic evaluation. The organization of the scales was confirmed by factor analysis and correlations done with third-party tests further confirm the validity of the scales. Internal consistency and alpha coefficients for the test, as well as test-retest reliability, are all good.

It was created by Theodore Millon, Ph.D., D.Sc., Roger Davis, Ph.D., Carrie Millon, Ph.D., & Seth Grossman, Psy.D.