Plausibility judgments of atypical symptoms across cultures: an explorative study among western and non-western experts

Irena Boskovic, Douwe Van Der Heide, Lorraine Hope, Harald Merckelbach, Marko Jelicic

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Abstract

Symptom validity tests (SVTs) are predicated on the assumption that overendorsement of atypical symptoms flags symptom exaggeration (i.e., questionable symptom validity). However, few studies have explored how practitioners from different cultural backgrounds evaluate such symptoms. We asked professionals working in Western (n = 56) and non-Western countries (n = 37) to rate the plausibility of uncommon symptoms taken from the Structured Inventory of Malingered Symptomatology (SIMS), dissociative symptoms from the Dissociative Experience Scale (DES-T), and standard symptoms (e.g., anxiety, depression) from the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI-18). Western and non-Western experts gave similar plausibility ratings to atypical, dissociative, and standard symptoms: both groups judged BSI-18 symptoms as significantly more plausible than either dissociative or atypical symptoms, while the latter two categories did not differ. Our results suggest that the strategy to detect symptom exaggeration by exploring overendorsement of atypical items might work in a non-western context as well.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-281
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Injury and Law
Volume10
Issue number3
Early online date28 Jul 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2017

Keywords

  • sympton validity assessment
  • atypical symptons
  • cross-cultural research
  • structured inventory of malingered symptomatology

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