The weekly What Is… Insights Into Psychology series explores the meaning of a wide range of terms that come from the field of psychology, psychiatry, and other related areas.
Here’s an alphabetized list of terms covered so far, with the following tags to make things easier to pick out:
- (cognitive bias/heuristic)
- (personality trait)
A good question can get you thinking about yourself in ways that never might have crossed your mind before. A psychological test can promote self-reflection and may help you gain insights into your mental health patterns over time. This page includes a range of tests related to mental health that will hopefully help get you thinking.
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. There’s more on this in the post on psychological testing.
This post consists mostly of scientifically validated scales, with a few exceptions. That means they’re not designed for ease of use, and may not calculate scores for you. However, for personal use, scores are far less relevant than the cues they can provide for self-reflection.
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.
Psychological tests can’t diagnose you
Psychological tests capture a snapshot of a particular aspect of you at a given point in time. Diagnosis of an illness requires far more context and nuance, but the snapshot can serve as a jumping off point. The key is to be open with your treatment provider. The better they can understand what you’re going through, the more accurate an assessment they can make.
Other places to find mental health tests
As mentioned early, being really user-friendly isn’t what the tests listed here are necessarily 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.
Skip ahead to:
- Chronotype: Circadian Energy Scale (CIRENS): measures whether you’re a morning or a night person
- Desirability of Control Scale: looks at how much you want to feel in control of what’s happening in your life (links straight to a .doc file download)
- Levenson Multidimensional Locus of Control Scales
- Locus Of Control Scale: measures how much influence you believe you have over your life
- Spheres of Control Scale (SOC-3): measures personal, interpersonal, and socio-political control
- Grit: Grit Scale – researcher Angela Duckworth defines grit as the “combination of passion and perseverance for a singularly important goal”
- Identity: Aspects of Identity Questionnaire (AIQ-IV): looks at personal, relational, social, and collective identity orientations.
- Internet Use: Problematic Internet Use Questionnaire: click on “run a demo” to take the test
- Mindfulness: 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
- Obsessions & compulsions: Obsessive Compulsive Inventory short form (OCI-R)
- Procrastination: Procrastination Cognitions Inventory
- Resilience: ER-89 Ego Resiliency Scale: this looks at longer-term trait resilience as opposed to state resilience at the present time
- Scrupulosity: Penn Inventory of Scrupulosity (PIOS): measures psychological discomfort arising from the belief that one is sinful
- Self-efficacy: General Self-Efficacy Scale
- Sleep–related thoughts: Anxiety and Preoccupation about Sleep Questionnaire (APSQ) looks at problematic thoughts that may be interfering with sleep
- Stigma: Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness Inventory (ISMI)
Tests Related to Psychiatric Diagnoses
Borderline personality disorder
PTSD & dissociation
Tests Related to Avoidance & Coping Behaviours
Cognition, Thinking Styles
- Automatic Thoughts Questionnaire (ATQ): measures the frequency and degree of belief of automatic negative thoughts about the self
- Clance Imposter Phenomenon Scale: measures imposter syndrome
- Cognitive Flexibility Scale (CFS)
- IQ test: the Open-Source Psychometrics Project has a full scale IQ test (i.e. covers each of the distinct scales that make up a full IQ test)
- Need for Cognition Scale: measures the tendency to pursue and enjoy thinking
- Rational Experiential Inventory (REI): measures intuitive and logical thinking styles
- Ruminative Responses Scale: rumination is a common thinking pattern in depression
- Alexithymia: refers to a difficulty describing emotions, which can be a personality trait or it can occur as part of an illness like depression
- Anger: Clinical Anger Questionnaire: click on “run a demo” to take the test
- Defeat: The Defeat Scale: measures defeatedness
- Emotional intelligence:
- Emotional intensity: Affect Intensity Measure (AIM): strength/weaknesses of emotional experiences
- Emotional regulation: Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS)
- Entrapment: The Entrapment Scale: measures both internal and external entrapment
- Guilt and shame: guilt = I did bad; shame = I am bad
- Happiness & positive emotions
- Attachment: Measure of Attachment Qualities (MAQ) is a short 14-item scale on attachment styles
- Cooperativeness/competitiveness: Cooperative/Competitive Strategy Scale (CCSS)
- Disagreement: Tolerance For Disagreement Scale (TFD)
- Loneliness: Loneliness Assessment Scale (UPLAS): click on “run a demo” to take the test
- Pleasure in social interaction: Social Safeness and Pleasure Scale
- Put-downs: Sensitivity to Put-Down: measures anxious/distressed and angry/irritable responses
- Reactivity: Interpersonal Reactivity Index
- Rejection: Rejection Sensitivity Questionnaire (RSQ): asks about situations that might typically come up for a college student
- Social intelligence: Tromsø Social Intelligence Scale (TSIS): measures social information processing, social skills, and social awareness
- Solitude: Preference for Solitude Scale: links straight to a .doc file download
- Submissiveness: The Submissive Behaviour Scale
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.
- 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.”
- Big Five personality tests:
- Big Five Inventory: this version comes from the Fetzer Institute
- 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. Related tests include:
- Histrionic traits: Brief Histrionic Personality Inventory (BHPS)
- Introversion/extraversion: Multidimensional Introversion–Extraversion Scales
- Personality Inventory for DSM-5 (PID-5): measures a number of personality traits that could potentially be related to personality disorders
Self-criticism & Self-esteem
- Self-worth: 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