Validity and Reliability Thesis

J Best Pract Health Prof Divers (Spring, 2017), 10(1), 1–27. ISSN: 2745-2843 © Winston-Salem State University


Validity and Reliability of the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Ken Randall,1 Ph.D., MHR, PT; Mary Isaacson,1 EdD; Carrie Ciro,1 Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA

Author Affiliations: 1Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Corresponding Author: Ken Randall, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Oklahoma Schusterman Center, 4502 East 41st Street, Room 2H20, Tulsa, OK 74135 (


The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is frequently used by health professions and educational programs to address the diversity of personalities that exist. No systematic review of the literature or meta-analysis of its validity and reliability has occurred.

This comprehensive literature search identified 221 potential studies, of which seven met our inclusion criteria. Four of the studies examined construct validity, but their varying methods did not permit pooling for meta-analysis.

These studies agree that the instrument has reasonable construct validity. The three studies of test-retest reliability did allow a meta-analysis to be performed, albeit with caution due to substantial heterogeneity.

Results indicate that the Extravert-Introvert, Sensing- Intuition, and Judging-Perceiving Subscales have satisfactory reliabilities of .75 or higher and that the Thinking-Feeling subscale has a reliability of .61. The majority of studies were conducted on college-age students; thus, the evidence to support the tool’s utility applies more to this group, and careful thought should be given when applying it to other individuals.

Keywords n Myers-Briggs Type Indicator n Personality n Reliability n Validity



2 J Best Pract Health Prof Divers: Vol. 10, No. 1, Spring 2017


Personality is a commonly used term with a meaning that most of us readily comprehend, and yet it is an elusive concept to fully describe or quantify. Broadly defined, it is the combination of an individual’s cognitive, emotional, attitudinal, and behavioral response patterns (Angler, 2009; McAdams, 2009).

It has been studied since antiquity, with Hippocrates being among the first to describe personality by grouping individuals into temperaments that related to particular characteristics or types (Hippocrates 1923). Since then, countless theories and instruments have attempted to explicate and measure differences in personality more fully.

Included in these instruments is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which is reported to be one of the most widely used instruments in the world for understanding personality differences (Briggs Myers, 1998; Jackson, Parker, & Dipboye, 1996; Lorr, 1991; Saggino & Kline, 1996; Salter, Evans, & Forney, 2006; Tzeng, Outcalt, Boyer, Ware, & Landis, 1984; Zumbo & Taylor, 1993).