Susceptibility of the Trauma Symptom Inventory to Malingering

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This study examined the sensitivity and specificity of the Trauma Symptom Inventory (TSI, Briere, 1995), a self-report measure of psychological sequelae of potentially traumatic events, to malingering. An optimal cutting score for a validity scale—Atypical Responding (ATR)—designed to identify exaggeration or other unusual response sets was developed in an analogue sample of 155 college students and subsequently applied to TSI profiles from several samples of patients with various psychiatric disorders. Use of a cross-validated T-score cutoff of 61 and below on the ATR scale produced good sensitivity (81%) and specificity (92%) rates in the analogue sample. Participants in the analogue sample who reported a history of traumatic experiences were no more able to successfully malinger trauma, symptoms than were participants without such histories. Furthermore, false-positive rates in the clinical samples were generally low, suggesting that relatively few genuinely symptomatic individuals would be misclassified as malingering.

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Journal of Personality Assessment, v. 71, issue 3, p. 379-392