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Psychiatry Res. 2008 Apr 15;158(3):374-80. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2007.04.002. Epub 2008 Feb 21.

Measuring symptom exaggeration in veterans with chronic posttraumatic stress disorder.

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Mental Health Service, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, Little Rock, AR 72205-5484, USA. THOMAS.FREEMAN@MED.VA.GOV <THOMAS.FREEMAN@MED.VA.GOV>


Veteran subjects with chronic, combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are frequently used as research subjects in the study of PTSD. However, questions have consistently been raised regarding PTSD symptom exaggeration in veteran populations due to the relationship between PTSD symptoms and disability payments within the Veterans Affairs (VA) system. We used a variety of standardized forensic instruments frequently utilized in measuring symptom exaggeration - including the MMPI-2, the Structured Interview for Reported Symptoms (SIRS), the Structured Inventory of Malingered Symptomatology (SIMS), and the Miller Forensic Assessment Test (MFAST) - to examine symptom report in a group of veterans presenting for treatment at a VA residential PTSD treatment program. The majority of Vietnam veteran subjects in our study (53%) exhibited clear symptom exaggeration by SIRS criteria. Within the entire subject group, total SIRS scores correlated significantly with reported PTSD symptom severity as measured by the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS).

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