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Assessment. 2008 Dec;15(4):435-49. doi: 10.1177/1073191108317341. Epub 2008 Jun 6.

Classification accuracy of MMPI-2 validity scales in the detection of pain-related malingering: a known-groups study.

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  • 1University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA 70148, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine the accuracy of Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory 2nd edition (MMPI-2; Butcher, Dahlstrom, Graham, Tellegen, & Kaemmer, 1989) validity indicators in the detection of malingering in clinical patients with chronic pain using a hybrid clinical-known groups/simulator design. The sample consisted of patients without financial incentive (n = 23), nonmalingering patients with financial incentive (n = 34), patients definitively determined to be malingering based on published criteria ( n = 32), and college students asked to simulate pain-related disability (n = 26). The MMPI-2 validity scales differentiated malingerers from nonmalingerers with a high degree of accuracy. Hypochondriasis and Hysteria were also effective. For all variables except Scale L, more extreme scores were associated with higher specificity. This study demonstrates that the MMPI-2 is capable of differentiating intentional exaggeration from the effects on symptom report of chronic pain, genuine psychological disturbance, and concurrent stress associated with pursuing a claim in a medico-legal context.

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