Development and validation of the Malingering Assessment of Psychopathology (MAP)

Ekaterina Pivovarova, Fordham University


Clinicians and researchers have long recognized the importance of malingering assessment in forensic evaluations. The use of psychological tests has aided in the detection of symptom feigning, but the ultimate decision about malingering remains unstructured and based on clinical judgment. This study sought to implement a Structure Professional Judgment approach to decision making about malingering. An instrument, the Malingering Assessment of Psychopathology (MAP), was developed from research on correlates of malingering and expert recommendations. The MAP is comprised of 20 clinician-rated items across three subscales of Historical/Demographic (HD), Clinical Presentation (CP), and Psychological Testing (PT). To examine the MAP, clinicians from leading forensic organizations were asked to complete a questionnaire about a recent forensic evaluation. The respondents were randomly assigned to describe a case of an honest or malingering defendant. In total, 182 clinicians were included in the final analysis. The reliability of the MAP was examined using item-total correlations and Cronbach's Coeffiecient Alpha. Most items had moderate item-total correlations. The Coefficient Alpha for the Total Score and two subscales exceeded .70. Confirmatory Factor Analysis of the MAP failed to support a 3-factor or a higher-order structure. An Exploratory Factor Analysis indicated that a 5-factor model may be a better fit for the data. The content and concurrent validity of the MAP were examined. Clinicians reported that most of the items on the MAP were at least of moderate importance when assessing for malingering of psychopathology. All three subscales and the Total Score discriminated well between honest and malingering defendants as measured by mean differences, logistic regression, and ROC analyses. A revised version of the MAP, which removed the least reliable and valid items, did not significantly the findings. In summary, the MAP appears to be a relatively reliable and valid instrument in assessing malingering of psychopathology. However, these findings are strongly tempered by the limitations of the study design. The ultimate question of whether the MAP improved clinical decision making could not be investigated. Preliminary findings on this instrument suggest that future research should address inter-rater reliability and the ability of the MAP to improve on unaided clinical judgment.

Subject Area

Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Pivovarova, Ekaterina, "Development and validation of the Malingering Assessment of Psychopathology (MAP)" (2012). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3560152.