Master of Arts (MA)
The simulation and exaggeration of job related injury symptoms is a significant problem in the Workers' Compensation system. The result of simulation and exaggeration is the inappropriate allotment of financial resources to workers whose actual injuries do not warrant such compensation. Psychology as a field has done much research in the past years to address the detection of malingering. Most of that focus has viewed malingering behavior as a personal choice, as well as being indicative of a character flaw. However, the degree to which external factors such as work conditions increase the likelihood of an individual malingering has received minimal attention. The degree to which work factors such as pressure to return to work, and post-injury work environment increase the individual's willingness to malinger were studied. Participants were placed into one of three groups and given a questionnaire. They were asked to rate how willing they would be to exaggerate symptoms of an injury if the instance described in the vignette applied to themselves. No significant differences were found among questionnaire groups. A subsidiary analysis found that perception of pressure/fairness was significantly related to reported willingness to malinger. Further, it was found that the relationship between perceived pressure and willingness to malinger was curvilinear such that both low and high levels of perceived pressure were significantly related to greater willingness to exaggerate symptoms. It was concluded that an employee's perception of work environment characteristics may significantly alter an employee's willingness to malinger.
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Dixon, Dennis R., "In defense of malingering: a cautionary note" (2002). LSU Master's Theses. 1294.