Compensation-seeking and extreme exaggeration of psychopathology among combat veterans evaluated for posttraumatic stress disorder

Paul B. Gold, B. Christopher Frueh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations

Abstract

We extended the work of Smith and Frueh (1996) by evaluating whether combat veterans classified as 'extreme exaggerators' were more likely to be compensation-seeking, and to report greater levels of psychopathology across self-report instruments than 'nonexaggerators.' Of 119 veterans who completed the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2) at an outpatient posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) clinic, 26 (22%) and 17 (14%) were identified as extreme exaggerators using two MMPI-2 validity indicators with stringent cutoffs (F-K ≥ 22; F(p) ≥ 8). These veterans were much more likely to be compensation seeking and scored much higher on self-report measures of various psychological symptoms than nonexaggerators, despite having lower rates of PTSD diagnoses and similar rates of other comorbid diagnoses. Findings suggest that the validity indices of the MMPI-2 can play a critical role, as a screening instrument, in identifying veterans who may be exaggerating their psychopathology to gain disability compensation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)680-684
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Volume187
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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