Psychological Injury and Law

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 24-31

First online:

Neuropsychological and Psychological Aspects of Malingered Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

  • George J. DemakisAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte Email author 
  • , Jon D. ElhaiAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Toledo

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Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that is frequently encountered in litigation, and as such, there is an increased risk for poor effort on cognitive tests, symptom exaggeration, or frank malingering. These are particularly problematic for accurate diagnosis. This article is divided into four sections. First, we address why individuals malinger PTSD as well as the challenges in detecting an invalid PTSD symptom presentation. Second, we discuss issues of cognitive functioning in PTSD and then the prevalence of and common patterns of poor effort on neuropsychological testing among individuals feigning PTSD. Third, we discuss psychological functioning in PTSD and then the prevalence and patterns of functioning on psychological measures of malingering in this population. Finally, recommendations for detecting invalid PTSD symptom presentations are provided.


Posttraumatic stress disorder Malingering Neuropsychological test Anxiety disorder War