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Revista Latinoamericana de Psicología

Print version ISSN 0120-0534

Abstract

ARCE, RAMÓN; FARINA, FRANCISCA  and  BUELA, GUALBERTO. ASSESSING AND DETECTING THE ABILITY TO FAKING PSYCHOLOGICAL INJURY AS A CONSEQUENCE OF A MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT ON THE MMPI-2 USING MOCK VICTIMS. rev.latinoam.psicol. [online]. 2008, vol.40, n.3, pp.485-496. ISSN 0120-0534.

The Spanish Law 30/1995 concerning civil liability in motor vehicle accidents (MVA) has included, under the precept of moral damage, the compensation of victims of psychological injury. The literature has identified PTSD and the indirect measurements or secondary disorders i.e., depression and dystimia, as psychological injury of an MVA. Nevertheless, under civil law, the diagnosis of PTSD alone does not constitute sufficient evidence given that in legal terms faking or false testimony must be detected and eliminated before an expert testimony can be admissible. In this context, and in order to assess the ability of malingerers to fake psychological injury in MVA, a total of 105 naïve participants i.e., untrained in psychopathology, and who had never been involved in a traffic accident in which they had sustained physical or psychological injury, were asked to feign they had suffered psychological injury as a consequence of a MVA. One week after self-training, they were evaluated on the MMPI-2. The results show that participants were able to fake both the direct and indirect symptoms of psychological injury of an MVA. The assessment of the predictive capacity of the validity and configurations scales of the MMPI-2 for effective simulators of moral damages revealed a wide margin of error: 26 subjects (24.76%) were perfect simulators. Finally, the results for the assessment of psychological injury of MVA are discussed and guidelines are recommended for detecting faking.

Keywords : Faking, motor traffic accidents (MVA); psychologychal assessment; post traumatic stress disorder (PSTD); MMPI-2.

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