Date of Award

1999

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

William Drew Gouvier

Abstract

Simulation is the intentional production or exaggeration of psychological symptoms (cognitive and/or emotional) in an effort to obtain secondary gain (e.g., avoiding work, obtaining financial compensation). While most current simulation measures can successfully identify obvious attempts at faking cognitive deficits (e.g., memory impairment), they have been much less successful at identifying more sophisticated simulators. The Word Completion Memory Test (WCMT) is the first measure specifically developed to detect more sophisticated attempts at feigning memory impairment. Unlike other simulation detection measures, a sophisticated coaching methodology was used in developing the WCMT. An initial validity study suggested the WCMT is a valid and effective measure of simulation; however, additional data are needed before widespread use of the instrument is appropriate. The primary purpose of the present study was to provide additional validity and reliability information about the WCMT. A total of 71 participants were recruited for this study: 15 undergraduates instructed to perform their best, 15 community volunteers instructed to perform their best, 15 undergraduates instructed to fake memory impairment, 15 community volunteers instructed to fake memory impairment, and 11 memory-disordered patients instructed to perform their best. Undergraduate and community participants were administered five tests of neuropsychological functioning and five tests of simulation (including the WCMT) to explore the convergent and discriminant validity of the WCMT. Two weeks later, these participants completed all 10 measures a second time to examine test-retest reliabilities. Memory-disordered patients were administered the WCMT and two of the same simulation measures administered to undergraduate and community participants during the course of a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation. Due to time constraints, memory-disordered patients were not administered the other seven measures that were administered to undergraduate and community participants. Results revealed that the WCMT successfully discriminated simulators from nonsimulators with an overall classification accuracy of 97%. When entered into discriminant function analyses, the WCMT consistently entered into the equations first, accounting for 70% of the variance. In addition, the WCMT demonstrated good convergent and discriminant validity, and 2-week test-retest reliabilities ranged from .86 to .94. In conclusion, the WCMT appears to be a valid and reliable measure of simulated memory impairment.

ISBN

9780599474499

Pages

58

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