Psychological Injury and Law

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 44–55 | Cite as

Do Motivations for Malingering Matter? Symptoms of Malingered PTSD as a Function of Motivation and Trauma Type

  • Kristine A. Peace
  • Kimberly A. Masliuk


Psychological disorders associated with traumatic events, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), may be prone to malingering due to the subjective nature of trauma symptomology. In general, symptoms tend to be inflated when an external reward (i.e., compensation) is associated with the claim. The present study was designed to test whether malingered claims of PTSD symptoms differed as a function of the type of trauma being malingered (accident, disaster, sexual assault) and the motivation for malingering (compensation, attention, revenge, no motivation). Participants were randomly assigned into conditions, given malingering instructions, and then asked to complete three measures of trauma symptoms (Impact of Event Scale—Revised; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist; Trauma Symptom Inventory). Results indicated that participants in the sexual assault condition produced higher symptom reports on nearly all scales. Revenge and compensation motivations yielded elevated symptom scores. Further, individuals rated high in fantasy proneness and dissociation produced elevated scores on atypical responding and most clinical scales. More research is needed to examine the extent to which different motivations and trauma types influence symptom reporting.


Malingering PTSD Motivation Trauma Fantasy proneness Dissociation 


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© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyGrant MacEwan UniversityEdmontonCanada

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