Risk of false positives when identifying malingered profiles using the trauma symptom inventory

J Pers Assess. 2006 Jun;86(3):329-33. doi: 10.1207/s15327752jpa8603_08.


The Trauma Symptom Inventory (TSI; Briere, 1995) is a 100-item self-report measure of posttraumatic symptomatology that includes an Atypical Response (ATR) validity scale designed to differentiate honest from malingered profiles. In this study, using an analogue design to experimentally manipulate honest and malingered responses on the TSI, we found that proposed ATR cut scores produce a significant risk of false positives. Furthermore, the functioning of proposed cut scores worsened when we used posttraumatic stress disorder relevant samples and low estimates of malingering base rates. In light of these findings, the TSI should be used with caution when assessing claims of posttraumatic stress in forensic or disability settings.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Deception*
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malingering / diagnosis*
  • Malingering / psychology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Psychometrics
  • Regression Analysis
  • Self-Assessment*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires