Detection of Feigned Psychosis with the Structured Inventory of Malingered Symptomatology (SIMS): A Study of Coached and Uncoached Simulators

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Abstract

The aim of the present study was to investigate the efficacy of the Structured Inventory of Malingered Symptomatology (SIMS) to detect feigned psychosis in naïve, informed, and coached participants. Sixty undergraduate students were administered the SIMS and a number of filler questionnaires and asked to fill out the questionnaire honestly (controls; n = 15) or instructed to malinger psychosis because they were standing trial for a serious offense. Before they completed the SIMS, instructed malingerers either received no further information (naïve malingerers; n = 15), some information about psychotic symptoms (informed malingerers; n = 15), or some information about psychosis and a warning not to exaggerate symptoms (coached malingerers; n = 15). Even in the group of coached malingerers, the SIMS had acceptable sensitivity and specificity rates. These findings suggest that the SIMS may be of value in forensic assessments.