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Personality Assessment Inventory

Leslie C. Morey, PhD

Comprehensively assesses adult psychopathology
Paper and pencil, Online administration and scoring via PARiConnect, Software, Professional report service
Age range:
18 years to 89 years
25–55 minutes
Qualification level:
All qualifications for Level B plus an advanced professional degree that provides appropriate training in the administration and interpretation of psychological tests, or license or certification from an agency that requires appropriate training and experience in the ethical and competent use of psychological tests. Close

Now available! A revised translation for the PAI Spanish. Order now!

Now available! Learn more about the PAI Plus. Have questions? View the transcript of the Q&A from a recent PAI Plus training webinar in the Resources tab above or here!


An objective inventory of adult personality, the PAI assesses psychopathological syndromes and provides information relevant for clinical diagnosis, treatment planning, and screening for psychopathology. Administration time is up to 40 minutes shorter than that for similar instruments.

Features and benefits

  • Unique, efficient scale structure. All 22 scales are nonoverlapping, promoting high discriminant validity. Scale development was content-driven.
  • Fast, cost-effective administration. Clients generally complete the 344 items in less than an hour. Scales and subscales can be hand-scored in only 15-20 minutes.
  • Can be used with low-reading level populations. The PAI requires only a fourth-grade reading level; an audio administration CD is also available.
  • No scoring keys needed. A two-part carbonless Answer Sheet provides scores for all 344 items.
  • Provides strategies for interpretation. The Professional Manual includes an expanded discussion of administration considerations and a variety of strategies for the interpretation of clinical data.
  • Portable materials. The PAI Administration Folio provides a hard surface for both the Item Booklet and Answer Sheet for situations in which no desk or tabletop is available.
  • Available 24/7. Administration and scoring are available 24/7 on PARiConnect, our online assessment platform. 

Test structure

The 344 PAI items constitute 22 nonoverlapping scales covering the constructs most relevant to a broad-based assessment of mental disorders: four validity scales, 11 clinical scales, five treatment scales, and two interpersonal scales. To facilitate interpretation and to cover the full range of complex clinical constructs, 10 scales contain conceptually derived subscales.

  • Clinical scales provide critical diagnostic features of 11 important clinical constructs. These 11 scales may be divided into three broad classes of disorders: those within the neurotic spectrum, those within the psychotic spectrum, and those associated with behavior disorder or impulse control problems.
  • Treatment scales indicate potential complications in treatment. Five scales include two indicators of potential for harm to self or others, two measures of the respondent’s environmental circumstances, and one indicator of the respondent’s motivation for treatment.
  • Interpersonal scales provide valuable information regarding the client’s relationships and interactions. Interpersonal style is assessed along two dimensions: a warmly affiliative versus a cold rejecting style, and a dominating/controlling versus a meekly submissive style.
  • Two scales assess pathology. The Borderline Features scale is the only PAI scale that has four subscales, reflecting the factorial complexity of the construct. The Antisocial Features scale includes three subscales: one assessing antisocial behaviors and the other two assessing antisocial traits.
  • Critical Items form alerts you to issues that require immediate attention. This form lists 27 items (distributed across nine content areas) that suggest behavior or psychopathology that may demand immediate attention. They are identified as critical based on two criteria: indications of a potential crisis situation and a very low endorsement rate in normal individuals.

Technical information

  • Reliability and validity are based on data from a U.S. Census-matched normative sample of 1,000 community-dwelling adults, a sample of 1,265 patients from 69 clinical sites, and a college sample of 1,051 students.
  • Because the PAI was normed on adults in a variety of clinical and community settings, profiles can be compared with both normal and clinical populations.
  •  Reliability studies indicate that the PAI has a high degree of internal consistency across samples—results are stable over periods of 2-4 weeks (median alpha and test-retest correlations exceed .80 for the 22 scales). 
  • Validity studies demonstrate convergent and discriminant validity with more than 50 other measures of psychopathology.


Available in Spanish

  • The PAI Spanish: Revised Translation uses English-language norms and features clearer, more inclusive language while maintaining semantic fidelity to the PAI. Learn more or order.
  • The PAI materials, including the manual, have been translated into European Spanish and designed especially for Spanish-speaking clinicians and their clients. Normative data were collected primarily in Spain, with additional data collected in some Latin American countries. Certain test items and stimuli in this translation vary from the English version because of cultural and linguistic differences between the countries and their language. Learn more or order.

Supplemental components make PAI use even easier