Doubt & Social Policy: The Long History of Malingering in Modern Welfare States

J Law Med Ethics. 2021;49(3):385-393. doi: 10.1017/jme.2021.58.


This essay explores the long Western history of anxieties about feigned illness connected specifically to social policy. There is a remarkable consistency of such anxieties across time, as they appear in almost every major historical period in the West since the Middle Ages.

Keywords: History; Malingering; Policy; Social; Welfare.

MeSH terms

  • Emotions*
  • Humans
  • Malingering*
  • Middle Aged
  • Public Policy