A good question can get you thinking about yourself in ways that never might have crossed your mind before. A good psychological test will promote self-reflection, and may help you gain insights into the state of your mental health. This page includes a range of tests related to mental health that will hopefully help get you thinking.
For more info on psychology, the Insights Into Psychology series page gives an overview of all of the psychological terms that have been covered in the series.
How to use & interpret psychological tests
Psychometric tests are used for a wide variety of purposes. Some scales are used mostly in research, while others might be used regularly in mental health practice.
What sets scientifically developed tests apart from a quiz you take on a random internet site is the validation work that’s gone into it. Validation involves administering the test to relevant population groups, and checking things like whether the test actually measures what it’s supposed to and whether scores are consistent when you recheck people a short time later.
It’s easy to find quizzes online, but for this page I wanted to focus on scales that have been scientifically validated. Because of that, some of these measures aren’t designed for ease of use, so they may not calculate scores for you. Some of the tests that are more geared towards research won’t tell you what a given score means, because it’s most useful for comparison purposes. You won’t have someone else to compare yourself to, but your score can still provide a basis for self-reflection, and you can see patterns in your responses over time.
Screening tests are intended to cast a wide net and capture people who might have a condition. They put you in a general ballpark, but they can’t, nor are they intended to, get any more specific than that.
With any sort of test like this, an appropriate balance needs to be struck between whether it’s more appropriate to have false negatives or false positives. With a screening test, false positives are okay, because you don’t want to be missing out on identifying people with the condition that could be getting false negatives. However, with tests used for clinical purposes, such as diagnosis, false positives would be much more problematic.
Psychological tests can’t diagnose you
Psychological tests capture a snapshot of a particular aspect of you. Diagnosis of an illness requires far more context than just that snapshot, but the snapshot can serve as a jumping off point. The key is to be open with your treatment provider, because the better they can understand what you’re going through, the more accurate an assessment they’ll be able to make.
Other places to find mental health tests
As mentioned early, being user-friendly isn’t what the tests listed here are aiming for. Here are a few places you can go to find tests that are designed with you, the user, in mind:
- HealthyPlace: screening tests
- Mental Health America: screening tests
- PsychCentral has quizzes related to a variety of mental health topics
- Greater Good Magazine from UC Berkeley has quizzes on topics like gratitude, mindfulness, empathy, and altruism.
- Grit Scale – researcher Angela Duckworth defines grit as the “combination of passion and perseverance for a singularly important goal”
- Aspects of Identity Questionnaire (AIQ-IV): looks at personal, relational, social, and collective identity orientations.
- Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire: identifies five aspects of mindfulness – observing, describing, acting with awareness, non-judging of inner experiences, and non-reactivity to inner experience
- Rape myths:
- Acceptance of Modern Myths About Sexual Aggression (AMMSA): measures buy-in to rape myths
- Resilience: you can read more about resilience here
- ER-89 Ego Resiliency Scale: this looks at longer-term trait resilience as opposed to state resilience at the present time
- Self-Consciousness Scale (SCS-R): measures private and public self-consciousness and social anxiety
- Contingencies of Self-Worth Scale – measures how much self-worth is dependent on various factors; some of the questions are specifically about school, but many of them are more general
- Anxiety and Preoccupation about Sleep Questionnaire (APSQ) looks about problematic thoughts that may be interfering with sleep
- Avoidance Strategy Questionnaire (ASQ): looks at how you would respond to an unwelcome request from your partner
- Generalized anxiety disorder screener (GAD-7)
- Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAM-A)
- Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ)
- Brief Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale (BFNE)
- Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS)
- Shyness Scale: shyness is a personality trait, not an illness (read more here), although there may be some minor areas of overlap with social anxiety
- Social Anxiety Questionnaire for Adults (SAQ-A30)
- Social Interaction Anxiety Scale (SIAS)
- Subtle Avoidance Frequency Examination (SAFE): this scale looks at avoidance behaviours in social situations
Borderline personality disorder
- Borderline Symptom List (BSL-23): used for tracking fluctuations in symptoms over time
- DBT Ways of Coping Checklist (DBT-WCCL): looks at strategies that you’re used recently to cope with stressful situations
- Reasons for Living Scale (short form and long form): this tool developed by Marsha Linehan isn’t actually specific to BPD; it looks at things that might stop you from acting on thoughts of suicide
IQ test: the Open-Source Psychometrics Project has a full scale IQ test
Need for Cognition Scale: measures the tendency to pursue and enjoy thinking
- Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D)
- Patent Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9): this screening test is part of the PRIME-MD screening tool that was developed by Pfizer
- Quick Inventory of Depression Symptomatology Self-Report (QIDS-SR)
- Alexithymia: refers to a difficulty describing emotions, which can be a personality trait or it can occur as part of an illness like depression (you can read more on alexithymia here)
- Emotional intensity
- Affect Intensity Measure (AIM): strength/weaknesses of emotional experiences
- Emotional regulation
- Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS)
- Guilt and shame: find out the difference between guilt and shame here
- Attachment: read about attachment theory here
- Measure of Attachment Qualities (MAQ) is a short 14-item scale on attachment styles
- Tolerance For Disagreement Scale (TFD)
- Rejection Sensitivity Questionnaire (RSQ): asks about situations that might typically come up for a college student
- Preference for Solitude Scale: links straight to a .doc file download
General personality tests
- IPIP-NEO: a free test based on the International Personality Item Pool, it’s available in a short a 120-item version and a full-length 300-item online test. The IPIP-NEO breaks down the neuroticism score into six facets: anxiety, anger, depression, self-consciousness, immoderation, and vulnerability.
- Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI): a 57-item test that measures the domains of introversion/extroversion and stability/neuroticism. There’s another version here that calculates your scores.
- 16PF Questionnaire: Cattell’s 16 Personality Factors, which has 164 items
- Synthetic Aperture Personality Assessment (SAPA): a 250-item test that covers domains including temperament, abilities, and interests. The results include scores on 27 narrow personality traits as well as the “Big Five.”
- The Open Extended Jungian Type Scales is a 60-item test based on Carl Jung’s theory of personality, which served as the basis for the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory.
- Fisher Temperament Inventory: this 62-item test is based on the theory that behaviour is influenced by four key neurotransmitter systems, involving dopamine, serotonin, testosterone, and estrogen
Specific personality traits
- Dark triad: a group of personality traits (narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism) that are associated with antisocial behaviour. Read more about the dark triad here. Related tests include:
- Type A/B personality: read more about type A personalities here
- Jenkins Activity Survey (modified version)
- Dissociative Subtype of PTSD Scale (DSPS): this measures the prominence of dissociative symptoms in PTSD
- Inventory of Psychosocial Functioning (IPF): looks at functional ability across a number of major life domains
- Posttraumatic Maladaptive Beliefs Scale (PMBS)
- PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5)
- PTSD Scale-Self Report for DSM-5 (PSS-SR5)
Self-criticism & Self-compassion
- Forms of Self-Criticizing/Attacking and Self-Reassuring Scale (FSCRS): looks at how you react when things go wrong for you
- Functions of Self-Criticizing/Attacking Scale (FSCS): looks at why you self-criticize
- Self-Compassion Scale (SCS)
- Processes of Change Questionnaire: scales specifically for alcohol, drugs, and smoking that measure experiential and behavioural change processes
- Self-Efficacy Scale: scales for alcohol, drugs, and smoking related to self-efficacy, the belief that one is capable
- Situation Temptation Scale: measures temptation in the areas of negative mood, social/positive situations, cravings, and physical concerns, with scales for alcohol, drugs, and smoking