Malingering on subjective complaint tasks: an exploration of the deterrent effects of warning

Sullivan, Karen A. & Richer, Carolyn J. (2002) Malingering on subjective complaint tasks: an exploration of the deterrent effects of warning. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 17(7), pp. 691-708.

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Assessing patient’s subjective experience of illness is an important component of neuropsychological assessment. This information can be assessed using standardised self-report complaint (SRC) checklists and may have specific applications in the assessment of malingering. Previous research suggests that subjective complaints can be faked under some circumstances, however the extent to which this occurs when assessments are made using standardised SRC measures is less well understood. In addition, if complaints can be faked this raises the question: what might reduce the likelihood of faked symptom reports? In this study, we randomly allocated 60 first-year undergraduate subjects to one of three conditions: malingering, malinger-with-warning, and control. Using a repeated measures analogue design, we assessed differences between groups on selected SRC measures. The measures used were the Neuropsychological Symptom Checklist, the General Health Questionnaire-30, and the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scales. We expected to find SRC measures would be vulnerable to faking, but also that warning malingerers about the possibility of detection would reduce faking behaviour. Further, control group scores on SRC measures were calculated to produce preliminary complaint base rate data for these tests. Our results showed SRC measures were vulnerable to faking. In addition, contrary to expectations, we found warnings did not significantly deter malingering, although we observed a trend in the expected direction and future studies with a larger sample size or a modified warning may be needed to further investigate warning efficacy. Broader implications of these findings are discussed in light of deterrence theory and recent debate over the use of SRC measures in the assessment of malingering.

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13 citations in Scopus
11 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 468
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: neuropsychology, malingering, subjective complaints, warnings, deterrence
DOI: 10.1016/S0887-6177(01)00171-8
ISSN: 0887-6177
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology Psychopharmacology Physiological Psychology) (170101)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2002 Elsevier
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Deposited On: 22 Oct 2004 00:00
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2012 09:44

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