Date of Award

8-1-2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Kibby, Michelle

Abstract

To date there has been limited empirical exploration of the utility of behavior report form’s embedded symptom validity scales. The purpose of this study was to address this by examining the Conners - Third Edition (Conners 3) Parent Report Form’s ability to detect purposeful exaggeration of symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity in an effort to obtain a diagnosis of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This was accomplished by using a malingering simulation experimental design whereby a group of parents, whose children did not have a diagnosis of ADHD, were entreated to simulate symptoms of ADHD on the Conners 3. Their simulated reports were then compared to the responses of parents whose children had a diagnosis of ADHD, as well as to the Conners 3’s normative sample. Results indicate that simulators, provided with information easily obtained from the internet and minimal coaching, were largely able to fabricate profiles indicative of ADHD. Furthermore, they were able to accomplish this ADHD without raising concern regarding the validity of the report based upon the Conners 3’s embedded symptom validity scales. While simulators did produce significantly more severe symptom elevations compared to the ADHD comparison group, their profiles were not so extreme as to aid in discriminating over-reporting. The ramification of these findings in the context of the need for stand-alone symptom validity testing is discussed.

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