The Self-Report Symptom Inventory (SRSI) is sensitive to instructed feigning, but not to genuine psychopathology in male forensic inpatients: an initial study

Daniël van Helvoort, Harald Merckelbach, Thomas Merten
Clinical Neuropsychologist 2019 January 30, : 1-14

OBJECTIVE: The Self-Report Symptom Inventory (SRSI) is a new symptom validity test that, unlike other symptom over-reporting measures, contains both genuine symptom and pseudosymptom scales. We tested whether its pseudosymptom scale is sensitive to genuine psychopathology and evaluated its discriminant validity in an instructed feigning experiment that relied on carefully selected forensic inpatients (n = 40).

METHOD: We administered the SRSI twice: we instructed patients to respond honestly to the SRSI (T1) and then to exaggerate their symptoms in a convincing way (T2).

RESULTS: On T1, the pseudosymptom scale was insensitive to patients' actual psychopathology. Two patients (5%) had scores exceeding the liberal cut point (specificity = 0.95) and no patient scored above the more stringent cut point (specificity = 1.0). Also, the SRSI cut scores and ratio index discriminated well between honest (T1) and exaggerated (T2) responses (AUCs were 0.98 and 0.95, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: Given the relatively few false positives, our data suggest that the pseudosymptom scale of the SRSI is a useful measure of symptom over-reporting in forensic treatment settings.

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