Racial variations on the MacAndrew alcoholism scale of the MMPI
Walters, Glenn Daryl
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Special alcoholism scales have teen developed using the MMPI in an attempt to achieve a more accurate identification of alcoholics than is possible with the standard MMPI scales. One such MMPI-derived alcoholism scale is the 49-item MacAndrew Alcoholism Scale (MAC: MacAndrew, 1965). Research has consistently supported the efficacy of the MAC in a variety of settings. However, the influence of moderator variables like age, sex, and race on the MAC have yet to receive sufficient empirical investigation. This study was conducted in order to determine the effect of one of these moderator variables (i.e., race) on the MAC performance of alcoholic and nonalcoholic inpatients. Subjects for this study were 73 (27 black, 46 white) male alcoholic inpatients and 73 (27 black, 46 white) male nonalcoholic psychiatric inpatients. Two independent variables, race (black, white) and abuse status (alcoholic, nonalcoholic) were investigated by means of a 2X2 factorial design in order to determine their effect on the dependent measure, MAC scores. The behavioral/personality correlates of the MAC were determined separately for black and white patients. Black and white alcoholics did not differ significantly on the MAC (both in terms of group mean MAC scores and accurate identification of patients using cutting scores). Black nonalcoholics, on the other hand, scored significantly higher than white nonalcoholics on the MAC and were less accurately identified by means of MAC cutting scores. As a result, the MAC was observed to successfully discriminate between white alcoholics and nonalcoholics (66.3%) but not between black alcoholics and nonalcoholics (55.5%). This study also found that black and white patients demonstrated similar behavioral/personality correlational patterns with the MAC. The inability of the MAC to discriminate between black alcoholics and nonalcoholics suggests that it may not be as useful with black patients as it has been with white patients. The results of the present investigation are consistent with Gynther's (1972) contention that significant racial variations exist on the MMPI, in this case on a special MMPI scale, the MAC. It was concluded, therefore, that clinically significant black-white differences were observed on the MAC.