Assessment of Feigned Psychological Symptoms

David T. R. Berry, Myriam J. Sollman, Lindsey J. Schipper, Jessica A. Clark and Anne L. Shandera

in Oxford Handbook of Personality Assessment

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780195366877
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Assessment of Feigned Psychological Symptoms

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  • Psychology
  • Psychological Assessment and Testing
  • Criminal and Forensic Psychology



Feigned-symptom reports have become of increasing interest in recent years, in part because the results of psychological evaluations are more widely accepted in legal proceedings. This article examines several pertinent issues regarding assessment of malingering, including methodological concerns, base rates of feigning, and coaching to avoid detection. It evaluates several frequently used measures of malingering, including the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2), Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI), Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III, Structured Inventory of Malingered Symptomatology, Miller Forensic Assessment of Symptoms Test, and Structured Interview of Reported Symptoms (SIRS). The article provides cutting scores, sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive powers at various base rates of feigning. After the SIRS, the feigning scales of the MMPI-2 have the most support for malingering detection, followed by the PAI scales. Generally, all measures reviewed showed greater negative predictive power rates; thus, a two-stage sequential process for malingering detection is discussed.

Keywords: MMPI-2; malingering; feigning; feigned-symptom reports; base rates; SIRS; Personality Assessment Inventory; predictive power; psychological evaluations; Malingered Symptomatology

Article.  17459 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Psychological Assessment and Testing ; Criminal and Forensic Psychology

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