The prevalence of malingering in persons seeking compensation on the basis of neuropsychiatric symptoms

Hugo F.J. ; Thornton H.B. ; Emsley R.A. ; Theron F.H. ; de Villiers N. ; Hemp F. (2001)


Objective. To determine the prevalence of malingering in a sample of patients seeking compensation for neuropsychiatric symptoms. Design. A cross-sectional study. Setting. The study was conducted in both academic and private practice in the Western Cape. Subjects. Thirty-eight patients referred for assessment by insurance companies and lawyers. Outcome measures. A visual analogue scale and threshold criteria for malingering were applied after a standard psychiatric examination was completed. Each subject then completed the following psychometric tests: the Dot-Counting Test (DCT), the Rey 15-item Test (Rey 15-item), the 21-item verbal memory Forced Choice Test (FCT) and the Structured Inventory of Malingered Symptomatology (SIMS). Results. On a threshold scale method 25% of subjects were identified as showing possible malingering. On the psychometric tests 32 - 71% of subjects demonstrated possible simulation. Conclusions. The prevalence of malingering in a medicolegal setting may be high.

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