Critiquing symptom validity tests for posttraumatic stress disorder: a modification of Hartman's criteria

J Anxiety Disord. 2008 Dec;22(8):1542-50. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2008.03.008. Epub 2008 Mar 13.


The differential diagnosis of malingering in psychological evaluations for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is complex and relies upon the integration of clinical knowledge and appropriate psychometric instruments. Over the years, there has been an increase in the use of validity measures, including Symptom Validity Tests (SVTs). In 2005, the National Academy of Neuropsychology published Symptom validity assessment: Practice issues and medical necessity, an official policy statement recognizing the importance of effort on test performance and recommending the utilization of specific SVTs to assess for response bias in neurocognitive and personality evaluations. As new SVTs become available, clinicians need a clear understanding of how to critique these tests and determine the strengths and limitations. This article demonstrates the fundamental principles of critiquing an SVT by applying a modified set of Hartman's [Hartman, D. E. (2002). The unexamined lie is a lie worth fibbing: Neuropsychological malingering and the Word Memory Test. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 17, 709-714] criteria, originally developed for neuropsychological SVTs, to the Morel Emotional Numbing Test for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (MENT).

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Facial Expression
  • Forensic Psychiatry / methods
  • Forensic Psychiatry / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • MMPI / statistics & numerical data
  • Malingering / diagnosis*
  • Malingering / psychology
  • Neuropsychological Tests / standards
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • ROC Curve
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Social Perception
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology