The Overuse and Misuse of Psychological Testing
The article “The Overuse and Misuse of Psychological Testing: Why Less Is More” by Jill Sanders and Sheba Katz, discusses the use of psychological test in family court. The article explained how the use of psychological testing in child-custody cases can provide helpful information, but many people including attorneys and judges place too much emphasis on the outcome of the test. The article explains that there is no test to determine whether a person is a good parent or not they can only test for certain personality aspects that aren’t always accurate. The article explained that often in contested custody disputes, it is not uncommon for one party to ask the court permission to have a psychological evaluation of the other party, or ask the court for a custody evaluation–which is typically done by a psychologist. When these evaluations occur, usually the psychologist will require the parent being evaluated to take certain psychological tests. One of the more commonly administered tests is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2). When selecting which of the many psychological tests to use in a child-custody case, psychologists should reflect on the issues in the case, what the court needs to know and whether the test can provide valid data about these concerns. Often custody issues are hard to quantify, and test results suggest hypotheses, not definitive answers. In these situations, psychologists should use testing to create a hypothesis and then attempt to corroborate their theories with other evidence by interviewing third parties and reviewing medical and mental health records. In the end psychologists must ensure that psychological test results don't get over-interpreted.
I felt that the article was very well written and covered all aspects of psychological testing in custody battles. There is no psychological test to determine who the more appropriate parent is, or which parent has superior parental ability, the fact remains that child custody evaluators, as part of their protocol, are utilizing psychological testing with increasing frequency. I felt that the article covered every question I could have had regarding this topic and I completely agree that psychological testing has a place and time where it can be helpful and unfortunately in custody cases they are misused and should be used only to determine if they are to be psychological fit to be a parent and care for the child’s needs. References
SANDERS, J. D., & KATZ, S. (2013). The Overuse and Misuse of Psychological Testing: Why Less Is More. American Journal of Family Law, 26(4), 221-226.