Exploration of malingering indices in the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Fourth Edition Digit Span subtest

Caitlin S Reese, Julie A Suhr, Tara L Riddle
Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology: the Official Journal of the National Academy of Neuropsychologists 2012, 27 (2): 176-81
Prior research shows that Digit Span is a useful embedded measure of malingering. However, the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-IV (Wechsler, 2008) altered Digit Span in meaningful ways, necessitating another look at Digit Span as an embedded measure of malingering. Using a simulated malingerer design, we examined the predictive accuracy of existing Digit Span validity indices and explored whether patterns of performance utilizing the new version would provide additional evidence for malingering. Undergraduates with a history of mild head injury performed with best effort or simulated impaired cognition and were also compared with a large sample of non-head-injured controls. Previously established cutoffs for the age-corrected scaled score and Reliable Digit Span (RDS) performed similarly in the present samples. Patterns of RDS length using all three subscales of the new scale were different in malingerers when compared with both head-injured and non-head-injured controls. Two potential alternative RDS scores were introduced, which showed better sensitivity than the traditional RDS, while retaining specificity to malingering.

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