Abstract

Although symptom validity testing is an integral part of the repertory of neuropsychologists in a number of countries, this is not yet true for Germany. The German adaptations of two effort tests, the Medical Symptom Validity Test (MSVT) by Green and the Amsterdam Short-Term Memory Test (ASTM) by Schmand et al., were investigated with a German-language sample. An analog study was performed with 18 healthy experimental malingerers and 18 controls with a mean age of 25.4 years. The scenario contained detailed information about mild post-traumatic cognitive impairment, as well as an explicit warning against symptom exaggeration. In addition to MSVT and ASTM, the Trail Making Test (TMT), the Complex Figure Test (CFT), and Digit Span were performed. Half of the sample were also given Rey's 15-Item-Test (FIT). Both groups were significantly different in all effort and performance measures, with the exception of the ratio TMT-B:TMT-A. With MSVT and ASTM, correct classification of group membership was between 97 and 100%. For the ratio TMT-B:TMT-A, there was a considerable overlap in the test scores for the two groups and the sensitivity of the FIT was too low. Although the ASTM and the MSVT were identified by a number of subjects as possible effort measures, both tests obtained very good results within this analog design.

Author notes

The results of this study were presented as a poster at the 19th Annual Meeting of the German Neuropsychological Society (GNP) in Munich, September 2004. A more detailed report on the study as well as a translation of the scenario and the questionnaires used can be obtained from the authors.