The Freiburger Persönlichkeitsinventar (FPI) is a psychological personality test to assess personality. The test is comparable in some aspects to MMPI and more generally to EPI or 16PF and is mainly used in German speaking countries. The FPI is primarily used in the field of clinical psychology and more generally in psychological research.
The first version was published in 1970 and was composed of four parts: FPI-G (long version), FPI-A und FPI-B (parallel half-editions) and the short version FPI-K ). Validation is done using a sample of 2300 subjects. 1983 a revised version has been published validated with representative sample in western Germanys called FPI-R. In 2001 a new standardization was done and the new FPI-R contain 138 items in its long version (FPI-A1 only 114 Items). Doing this a new representative sample of 3740 subjects in whole Germany was used. The new standards are structured according to sex and age (in seven groups). The test can be applied as paper-and-pencil-test or computer-assisted.
The authors selected 10 traits which are most important in psychological research and for diagnostic purposes. Furthermore the two basic secondary factors Extraversion and Emotionality from Hans Jürgen Eysenck were included. The answers of the 138 items are compiled into 12 scales:
- Lebenszufriedenheit (satisfaction with oneself)
- Soziale Orientierung (social orientation)
- Leistungsorientierung (need for achievement)
- Gehemmtheit (shyness)
- Erregbarkeit (irritability)
- Aggressivität (aggressiveness)
- Beanspruchung (demandedness)
- Körperliche Beschwerden (physical troubles)
- Gesundheitssorgen (health sorrows)
- Offenheit (openness)
- Extraversion (extraversion)
- Emotionalität (emotionality)
Background for the development of the FPI where the theoretical interests of the authors on special personality traits. The first 10 scales are neither a consequence of a preconceived personality theory nor just a result of statistical data reduction (factor analysis etc.) but based on theoretically founded personality traits. Statistitcal methods only have been used as tools to get more precise scales. The scales represent typical psychological constructs often used in self descriptions which therefore pay a important role in the assessment of human beings.
There are many correlations between test scores and objectively observable measures like behaviour or socio-demographic, professional and clinical properties. On the other hand should not be overlooked that self-descriptions and self-appraisals are open to expectations, Social desirability bias, stereotypes and other influences..
The authors Jochen Fahrenberg, Rainer Hampel and Herbert Selg have made an effort in their further work to apply evidence. The test manual contains their findings. In the course of the test construction, various quality criterions were determined, and the normalizations were repeatetd as quality control. The comparison of the two representative surveys of 1982 and 1999 showed that the structure of the FPI-R and test statistics, reliability coefficients, and even the standard values were highly reproducible.
The manual of the 8th Edition of the FPI-R  answers the generalcriticism of personality test, mainly on response bias, social desirability, and the questionable psychometric assumptions. The authors emphasize: Personality tests require conscious application of methods and strategies of multimodal diagnostics, ie saveguards and critical interpretation.
Applications and further developments
The FPI-R was developed as a personality test with a mean bandwidth for various tasks of psychological diagnosis, but has an application focus in the areas of psychosomatic, psychotherapy, rehabilitation, chronic diseases and health psychology. Two areas have been expanded trough scale constructions and representative normalization: the "Freiburger Beschwerdenliste" (Freiburg Disorder List) and the "Fragebogen zur Lebenszufriedenheit" (questionnaire on life satisfaction). There are FPI-R adaptations and licensing issues in other languages.
- Short version of FPI: Fahrenberg J, Selg H.: Das Freiburger Persönlichkeitsinventar. Hogrefe, 1970
- Jochen Fahrenberg, Rainer Hampel, Herbert Selg: FPI-R Freiburger Persönlichkeitsinventar. 8. erweiterte Aufl. Hogrefe, Göttingen 2010.