The effect of coaching on the simulated malingering of memory impairment

Jascha Rüsseler, Alexandra Brett, Ulrike Klaue, Michael Sailer, Thomas F Münte
BMC Neurology 2008, 8: 37

BACKGROUND: Detecting malingering or exaggeration of impairments in brain function after traumatic brain injury is of increasing importance in neuropsychological assessment. Lawyers involved in brain injury litigation cases routinely coach their clients how to approach neuropsychological testing to their advantage. Thus, it is important to know how robust assessment methods are with respect to symptom malingering or exaggeration.

METHODS: The influence of different coaching methods on the simulated malingering of memory impairments is investigated in neurologically healthy participants using the Short-Term-Memory Test from the Bremer Symptom-Validierung (STM-BSV). Cut-offs were derived from patients with mild to severe traumatic brain injury. For comparison purposes, the German adaptation of the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (AVLT), and the Rey 15 Items Test (FIT) were additionally administered. Four groups of neurologically healthy subjects were instructed to (1) perform as best as they can, (2) simulate brain injury, (3) simulate brain injury and received additional information about the sequelae of head trauma, (4) simulate brain injury and received additional information on how to avoid detection. Furthermore, a group of patients with mild to severe closed head injury performed the tests with best effort.

RESULTS: The naïve simulator and the symptom coached groups were the easiest to detect, whereas the symptom plus test coached group was the hardest to detect. The AVLT and the FIT were not suited to detect simulators (sensitivities from 0% to 50.8% at 75% specificity) whereas the STM-BSV detected simulators with 67% - 88% sensitivity at a specificity of 73%. However, the STM-BSV was not robust to coaching.

CONCLUSION: The present investigation shows that symptom validity testing as implemented in the BSV-STM is one clinically useful element in the detection of memory malingering. However, clinicians have to be aware that coaching influences performance in the test.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"