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J Anxiety Disord. 2008 Dec;22(8):1542-50. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2008.03.008. Epub 2008 Mar 13.

Critiquing symptom validity tests for posttraumatic stress disorder: a modification of Hartman's criteria.

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Neuropsychology Laboratory/Psychology Service, Department of Veterans Affairs Tennessee Valley Health Care System, Psychology Service 116B, 1310 24th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37212-2637, United States.


The differential diagnosis of malingering in psychological evaluations for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is complex and relies upon the integration of clinical knowledge and appropriate psychometric instruments. Over the years, there has been an increase in the use of validity measures, including Symptom Validity Tests (SVTs). In 2005, the National Academy of Neuropsychology published Symptom validity assessment: Practice issues and medical necessity, an official policy statement recognizing the importance of effort on test performance and recommending the utilization of specific SVTs to assess for response bias in neurocognitive and personality evaluations. As new SVTs become available, clinicians need a clear understanding of how to critique these tests and determine the strengths and limitations. This article demonstrates the fundamental principles of critiquing an SVT by applying a modified set of Hartman's [Hartman, D. E. (2002). The unexamined lie is a lie worth fibbing: Neuropsychological malingering and the Word Memory Test. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 17, 709-714] criteria, originally developed for neuropsychological SVTs, to the Morel Emotional Numbing Test for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (MENT).

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