Discriminating among ADHD alone, ADHD with a comorbid psychological disorder, and feigned ADHD in a college sample

Kimberly D Williamson, Hannah L Combs, David T R Berry, Jordan P Harp, Lisa H Mason, Maryanne Edmundson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Since the early 2000s concern has increased that college students might feign ADHD in pursuit of academic accommodations and stimulant medication. In response, several studies have validated tests for use in differentiating feigned from genuine ADHD. Although results have generally been positive, relatively few publications have addressed the possible impact of the presence of psychological disorders comorbid with ADHD. Because ADHD is thought to have accompanying conditions at rates of 50% and higher, it is important to determine if the additional psychological disorders might compromise the accuracy of feigning detection measures. The present study extended the findings of Jasinski et al. (2011) to examine the efficacy of various measures in the context of feigned versus genuine ADHD with comorbid psychological disorders in undergraduate students. Two clinical groups (ADHD only and ADHD + comorbid psychological disorder) were contrasted with two non-clinical groups (normal controls answering honestly and normal participants feigning ADHD). Extending previous research to individuals with ADHD and either an anxiety or learning disorder, performance validity tests such as the Test of Memory Malingering (TOMM), the Letter Memory Test (LMT), and the Nonverbal Medical Symptom Validity Test (NV-MSVT) were effective in differentiating both ADHD groups from normal participants feigning ADHD. However, the Digit Memory Test (DMT) underperformed in this study, as did embedded validity indices from the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-IV (WAIS-IV) and Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement-III (WJ-III).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1182-96
Number of pages15
JournalClinical Neuropsychologist
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2014


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity/diagnosis
  • Comorbidity
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Male
  • Malingering/diagnosis
  • Memory
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Report
  • Students/psychology
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Universities
  • Wechsler Scales
  • Young Adult


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