Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Daniel Allen

Number of Pages



Since Atkins v. Virginia (2002), there has been increased concern that inmates will feign mental retardation (MR) to avoid the death penalty. However, very little research on malingering diction for mental retardation has been conducted, forcing most clinicians to rely on methods derived for malingered traumatic brain injury (TBI). This lack of research may lead to increased false positive rates. Limited research suggests that intelligence tests may hold promise for identifying malingered MR and malingered TBI. Therefore, developing malingering scales for most popular measure of intelligence, the WAIS-III, should provide the most effective and efficient measure for identifying persons feigning cognitive deficits. The current study investigated several research questions related to the factors just described. First, does malingering change based on the clinical group to be feigned? Second, will participants change their malingering performance based on type of secondary gain? Can malingering detection methods developed on the WAIS-R generalize to the WAIS-III, and will these methods be effective for identifying malingered MR. Finally, can the theory behind the Digit Span=s effectiveness as a malingering indicator be supported empirically? The results suggest that malingerers will use similar malingering strategy regardless of clinical group or malingering motivation. New discriminate function equations were developed to identify malingerers based on the clinical group being feigned and malingering motivation. Using unique combinations of malingering measures and subtest scores produced correct classification rates ranging from 91 to 80% with low false positive rates. Most of the established malingering measures developed and validated with the WAIS-R and TBI malingerers did not meet statistic significance when applied to the current group malingering participants regardless of clinical population being feigned or malingering motivation. Finally, malingerer=s perception of the Digit Span test was empirically shown to moderate malingering performance. Clinical recommendations, study limitations, and the direction for future research are discussed.


Brain; Dissimulation Injury; Malingering; Mental; Mental Retardation; Retardation; Traumatic; Traumatic Brain Injury; Wais; Wais-ii

Controlled Subject

Clinical psychology

File Format


File Size

4444.16 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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