Detecting Feigned PTSD Using the Personality Assessment Inventory


Research generally supports the use of the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI; Morey 1991) to detect feigned PTSD, although this support has been somewhat mixed. There is also evidence that coaching individuals on the presence of PAI validity indicators may not affect their ability to avoid detection as feigners (Bagby et al. in Journal of Personality Assessment 78:69-86, 2002), although this question has not been specifically addressed with regard to PTSD. Additionally, a new PAI validity indicator, the Negative Distortion Scale (NDS), was developed that may have utility in detecting feigned PTSD, but this has not been tested. The purpose of this study was to further test the operating characteristics of the PAI validity indicators to detect feigned PTSD among naïve and coached respondents and to examine the newly developed NDS for this purpose. Individuals with genuine PTSD were compared to individuals instructed to feign PTSD on PAI validity indicators. Results suggest that: (a) coaching had minimal influence on the ability of the PAI to detect feigned PTSD, (b) the PAI validity indicators all significantly differentiated genuine from feigned PTSD, and (c) the NIM and NDS indicators were particularly effective for detecting feigned PTSD. © 2011 Springer Science + Business Media, LLC.

Publication Title

Psychological Injury and Law