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J Pers Assess. 1996 Dec;67(3):629-40.

Detection of feigned mental disorders on the personality assessment inventory: a discriminant analysis.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of North Texas, Denton 76203-6587, USA.


Psychological assessment with multiscale inventories is largely dependent on the honesty and forthrightness of those persons evaluated. We investigated the effectiveness of the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) in detecting participants feigning three specific disorders: schizophrenia, major depression, and generalized anxiety disorder. With a simulation design, we tested the PAI validity scales on 166 naive (undergraduates with minimal preparation) and 80 sophisticated (doctoral psychology students with 1 week preparation) participants. We compared their results to persons with the designated disorders: schizophrenia (n = 45), major depression (n = 136), and generalized anxiety disorder (n = 40). Although moderately effective with naive simulators, the validity scales evidenced only modest positive predictive power with their sophisticated counterparts. Therefore, we performed a two-stage discriminant analysis that yielded a moderately high hit rate (> 80%) that was maintained in the cross-validation sample, irrespective of the feigned disorder or the sophistication of the simulators.

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