A comparison of forensic and nonforensic malingerers: a prototypical analysis of explanatory models

Law Hum Behav. 1998 Aug;22(4):353-67. doi: 10.1023/a:1025714808591.


Explanatory models of malingering strive to understand the primary motivation underlying attempts to feign. Rogers, Sewell, and Goldstein (1994) provided empirical support for the conceptualization of pathogenic, criminological, and adaptational models. In the current study, a prototypical analysis of 221 forensic experts results in a slightly refined formulation: the adaptational models was decomposed into its two broad dimensions (cost-benefit analysis and adversarial setting). An important findings is that the factor structure for the explanatory models remained stable when applied to both forensic and nonforensic cases. As a first investigation, significant differences were observed in prototypical cases of malingering by the category of referral (forensic or nonforensic) and by type of feigning (mental disorders, cognitive impairment, and medical syndromes). Surprisingly, the feigning of medical syndromes appeared to play a relatively prominent role in both forensic and nonforensic cases and to be influenced by the apparent adversarial context of the assessment. Finally, important gender differences were observed, especially with nonforensic prototypical cases of malingering.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Criminal Psychology*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Forensic Psychiatry*
  • Humans
  • Malingering / classification
  • Malingering / etiology
  • Malingering / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Motivation
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sex Factors