Detection of malingering in psychiatric unit and general population prison inmates: A comparison of the PAI, SIMS, and SIRS

  • Edens J
  • Poythress N
  • Watkins-Clay M
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Abstract

In this study, we compared the utility of three instruments, the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI; Morey, 1991), the Structured Inventory of Malingered Symptomatology (Smith & Burger, 1997), and the Structured Interview of Reported Symptoms (SIRS; Rogers, Bagby, & Dickens, 1992) to detect malingering among prisoners. We examined 4 inmate samples: (a) prisoners instructed to malinger, (b) "suspected malingerers" identified by psychiatric staff, (c) general population control inmates, and (d) psychiatric patients. Intercorrelations among the measures for the total sample (N = 115) were quite high, and receiver operating characteristic analyses suggested similar rates of overall predictive accuracy across the measures. Despite this, commonly recommended cut scores for these measures resulted in widely differing rates of sensitivity and specificity across the subsamples. Moreover, although all instruments performed well in the nonpsychiatric samples (i.e., simulators and controls), classification accuracy was noticeably poorer when attempting to differentiate between psychiatric patients and suspected malingerers, with only 2 PAI indicators significantly discriminating between them.

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