Author

Jesse Siegel

Date of Award

8-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Laura A. Knight

Second Advisor

Margaret Reardon

Third Advisor

Anthoy Perillo

Abstract

This study evaluated the effects of a contingent reward on college students’ ability to feign Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) on neuropsychological measures while avoiding detection on performance validity tests (PVT). It also sought to ascertain strategies used by college students to feign ADHD. This investigation extends previous research on malingering by including both incentivized and unincentivized experimental groups to establish the impact of incentivizing ADHD-related non-credible responding (NCR) on neuropsychological test performance.

Participants were randomly assigned to a control group or one of three experimental groups. Experimental groups included an unincentivized group and two incentivized groups, offered either $10 on the spot or entry into a $100 raffle, both of which were conditional upon participants’ ability to successfully feign ADHD. Participants were administered five neuropsychological measures, three PVTs, and an ADHD self-report by an examiner blind to participant condition. Participants were asked an open-ended question about strategies used to feign ADHD. A total of 68 undergraduate students enrolled in an introductory psychology course participated in this study.

Results from this study showed that an incentive did improve participants’ ability to feign ADHD compared to no incentive; however, most participants failed to successfully feign ADHD. Although participants were generally able to produce scores suggestive of ADHD on neuropsychological measures and an ADHD self-report, most participants failed to avoid detection on PVTs. Participants in this study reported feigning strategies related to inattentive behavior, fidgety behavior, and giving slow responses, which is consistent with strategies reported in other studies, although methodological differences complicated efforts to compare results.

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