Detection of feigned mental disorders: a meta-analysis of the MMPI-2 and malingering

Assessment. 2003 Jun;10(2):160-77. doi: 10.1177/1073191103010002007.


The validity of test data from multiscale inventories is dependent on self-reports that may be easily distorted by malingering. In examining the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2's (MMPI-2) role in the assessment of feigning, this review provides a conceptual analysis of the detection strategies underlying the MMPI-2 validity scales. The conceptual analysis is augmented by comprehensive meta-analysis of 65 MMPI-2 feigning studies plus 11 MMPI-2 diagnostic studies. For the rare-symptoms strategy, Fp (Cohen's d = 2.02) appears especially effective across diagnostic groups; its cut scores evidence greater consistency than most validity indicators. The data supported the F as an effective scale but questioned the routine use of Fb. Among the specialized scales, Ds appeared especially useful because of its sophisticated strategy, consistent cut score, and minimalfalse-positives. General guidelines are offeredfor specific MMPI-2 validity scales in the assessment of malingering with specific diagnoses.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Factitious Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • MMPI*
  • Malingering / diagnosis*
  • Reproducibility of Results