Symptom validity testing: a critical review

Clin Neuropsychol. 2001 Feb;15(1):19-45. doi: 10.1076/clin.


This paper provides a comprehensive review of the published literature on symptom validity tests (SVT) and, with the accompanying tables, serves as a reference to assist in their selection, interpretation, and defense. Because malingering is inherently an applied problem that frequently arises in a medico-legal context, the use of SVTs must meet certain standards. Thus, a number of methodological and theoretical weaknesses of SVT research which limit the use of SVTs as clinical tools and sources of evidence are highlighted. These criticisms incorporate recommendations which must be addressed if conclusions based on SVT data are to meet the increasingly rigorous standards for the admissibility of scientific evidence.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Injury, Chronic / diagnosis*
  • Brain Injury, Chronic / psychology
  • Expert Testimony / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Head Injuries, Closed / diagnosis
  • Head Injuries, Closed / psychology
  • Humans
  • Malingering / diagnosis*
  • Malingering / psychology
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results