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The Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) in U.S. Case Law - An Examination of Relevance (1 CE)


The Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI), a popular measure of personality, psychopathology, and interpersonal functioning, has demonstrated utility to address various psycholegal questions. This case law review examines a large sample of randomly selected published U.S. case law decisions to ascertain how the PAI has been applied and considered by legal decision makers. The review indicates the instrument is popular in criminal and civil legal settings, particularly in preadjudication forensic mental health evaluations (e.g., competency to proceed) and cases considering social security disability benefits. Forensic evaluators and legal actors primarily consider the results of the PAI as indicators of examinee impression management, psychopathology, and interpersonal functioning, although this varied by psycholegal context. The admissibility of the instrument was rarely challenged, although some challenges to the forensic evaluator’s interpretation and conclusions emerged. Despite the PAI’s popularity, the utility of the instrument is determined by specific, empirically supported, contexts. As such, forensic evaluators must consider how the PAI may inform decision making given examinee characteristics and the psycholegal question.

Goals and Objectives

1. Identify in which types of cases the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) is used in criminal and civil legal settings.

2. Understand how forensic evaluators and legal actors primarily consider the results of the PAI in these contexts.

Skill Level 



Lauren Meaux, MA | The University of Alabama

Lauren Meaux is a sixth-year PhD student at The University of Alabama. She is currently completing her clinical internship at Tulane University School of Medicine and will have her degree conferred in August. Her research focuses on psychology and the law, specifically, forensic assessment, mental state at the time of the offense, and legal decision-making.





Jennifer Cox, PhD | The University of Alabama

Jennifer Cox received her PhD in clinical psychology from Texas A&M University. She is currently an Associate professor specializing in clinical psychology-law at The University of Alabama where she codirects the Alabama Forensic Assessment and Research Evaluation (FARE) project. Her research interests include the impact of biases on legal decision making, forensic mental health assessment, psychopathy, and the interaction of psychology and public policy.



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