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As an example from South Carolina, one expert prevailed in his opinion on malingering, despite extensive data to the contrary and the fact he had not even evaluated the defendant. Forensic psychologists and psychiatrists bear a heavy responsibility in assessing malingering. Experts want to minimize the likelihood that malingerers avoid detection and evade their responsibilities to the criminal justice system. However, the misclassification of a person with a mental disorder as a malingerer is a momentous error.

24 CHAPTER 2 Table 2-1. Common Terms Used to Describe Malingering and Related Response Styles Term Malingering Factitious disorder Feigning Overreporting Dissimulation Secondary gain Suboptimal effort Definition and Source From DSM-IV, it is the deliberate fabrication or gross exaggeration of psychological or physical symptoms to achieve an external goal. From DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association, 2000, p. 513), it is an Axis I disorder characterized by a “psychological need to assume the sick role” that is satisfied by the intentional production of psychological or physical symptoms.

This strategy generally produces positive results, although the magnitude of these results is often modest. The final three strategies (consistency of comparable items, psychological sequelae, and atypical presentation) also represent the unexpected performance domain but are more limited in their validation. While appearing straightforward, the establishment of consistency of comparable items requires carefully selected items and careful validation. At present, Frederick and Foster’s (1997) work on the Validity Indicator Profile exemplifies the needed research.

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