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Valerie Gutierrez

Vynette Moore

April Osback   

 

Bagby, R.M., Rogers, R., Nicholson, R., Buis, T, Seeman, M.V., Rector N.  (1997).  Does

clinical training facilitate schizophrenia on the MMPI-2.  Psychological Assessment, 9(2), 106-112.

Steinmetz, S., et al. (Eds.).  (1997).  Random House Webster’s College Dictionary.  New York:

            Random House.

 

            The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of feigning schizophrenia on the MMPI-2.  Knowledge was also examined as being a factor in feigning.  The authors hypothesized that “two clinically trained groups would be more successful at feigning schizophrenia than the undergraduate students” (Bagby et al., 1997).  They also “hypothesized that of the two clinically trained groups, the clinical psychology graduate students would be more successful at feigning schizophrenia than psychiatric residents and fellows” (Bagby et al., 1997). 

            There were two important, yet unfamiliar terms used in this study.  The first, malingering, can be defined as pretending to have an illness.  The second, feigning can be defined as to give a false impression, or to assert as true, according to the Random House Webster’s dictionary. 

This study consisted of four samples including clinical psychology graduate students, psychiatric residents and fellows, undergraduate psychology students, and patients with schizophrenia.  There were 28 clinical psychology graduate students (9 men, 19 women), and their mean age was 33.80 years.  They were recruited from two clinical psychology programs and a pre-doctorial internship program.  They had completed at least one graduate course in psychopathology and psychological testing, which covered such material as the MMPI-2.  “The total number of months of practicum and internship training was about 18.50 months” (Bagby et al., 1997). The second sample consisted of psychiatric residents and fellows.  There were 26 participants (14 men, 12 women), and their mean age was 33.08 years.  They were obtained from a psychiatric residency and fellowship program, and reported very little familiarity with the MMPI-2 and its scales.

            The third sample consisted of undergraduate psychology students.  There were 24 participants (12 men, 12 women), and their mean age was 22.50 years.  They were recruited from their psychology classes at an unknown university.  Many of the students had completed courses in abnormal psychology, personality, and psychological testing, and two had been exposed to people suffering from schizophrenia.  The final sample consisted of schizophrenic patients.  There were 51 participants (31 men, 20 women), and their mean age was 38.69 years.  “The names and telephone numbers of patients with schizophrenia were obtained from a Schizophrenia Research Registry maintained by the Schizophrenia Research Program at the University of Toronto.  As part of the registry, the patients had previously given consent to be contacted for future research studies  (Bagby et al., 1997).

            Participants with clinical training were initially contacted by letter and subsequently by telephone upon agreement to be in the study.  All participants were asked to complete a questionnaire with demographic information, their familiarity of the MMPI-2 and schizophrenic patients, and their level of training.

            In this study there were three independent variables:  clinically trained, no clinical training and control groups.  The clinically trained group consisted of clinical psychology graduate students and psychiatric residents and fellows.  Those with no clinical training consisted of undergraduate psychology students.  Finally, the control group consisted of patients with schizophrenia.  The dependent variable was the MMPI-2 scores. 

            The results of the study were found to be significant.  MANOVA effects were found for the 10 clinical scales F(27, 342.34) = 7.67, p < .001.  Significant MANOVA effects were also found for validity indicators F(21, 342.25) = 9.04, p < .001.  The interpretation of these results indicate that both the clinically and the non-clinically trained groups over endorse symptoms of schizophrenia.  In addition, those with limited training and knowledge over endorsed symptoms that may not be associated with schizophrenia.  The results of the clinical scales indicate “participants asked to feign schizophrenia tended to endorse more items indicative of psychopathology than did patients with schizophrenia” (Bagby et al., 1997).  The results of the validity indicators specify that “the groups of participants asked to malinger also produced higher scores than did the group of patients with schizophrenia on each of the validity indicators.  The undergraduate psychology students generated scores that were significantly higher than those of the patient group on each on the remaining indicators” (Bagby et al., 1997).

            As with any study, there were limitations.  Participants were recruited from only one university and registry.  There was no random sampling or assignment and the sample size was relatively small.  There was also a large range of experience in using the MMPI-2 among the participants.  Finally, the researchers should have used actual participants suffering from schizophrenia as opposed to outpatients in the residual phase of their illness.

            As a group, we thought there were points that were confusing and/or not clearly explained as well as important issues we thought were interesting and informative.  The authors claimed that individuals, who had knowledge about psychopathology, tend to over endorse symptoms that were thought to be features of a specific disorder, but at the same time the authors also state that the individuals were able to refrain from endorsing such symptoms.  This contradiction made it difficult to draw a conclusion.  The authors also claim that their findings are significant based on a p <. 001 scales, but if the authors had used a scale of,  p < .05, for example, their findings might not have been significant.  Another point, which our group thought was interesting, was how all of the sample groups over emphasized the symptoms of schizophrenia.  One would assume that at least those with more experience with the MMPI-2, and/or with schizophrenic patients would know how to manipulate the test and feign “just enough”.  In addition, we thought it was interesting that even mental health professionals had difficulty in feigning psychopathology successfully on the MMPI-2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Presentation Outline

 

Bagby, R.M., Rogers, R., Nicholson, R., Buis, T, Seeman, M.V., Rector N.  (1997).  Does

clinical training facilitate schizophrenia on the MMPI-2.  Psychological Assessment, 9(2), 106-112.

 

 

I.                    Purpose

A.     Assess feigning schizophrenia on the MMPI-2

B.     Knowledge as a factor in feigning      

 

II.                 Hypotheses

A.     “Two clinically trained groups would be more successful at feigning schizophrenia than the undergraduate students” (Bagby et al., 1997)

B.     “Of the two clinically trained groups, the clinical psychology graduate students would be more successful at feigning schizophrenia than psychiatric residents and fellows” (Bagby et al., 1997)

 

III.               Method

A.     Participants – 4 samples

1.      Clinical psychology graduate students

a.       28 participants (9 men, 19 women)

2.      Psychiatric residents and fellows

a.       26 participants (14 men, 12 women)

3.      Undergraduate psychology students

a.       24 participants (12 men, 12 women)

4.      Patients with schizophrenia

a.       51 participants (31 men, 20 women)

 

B.     Variables

1.      IV

a.       Clinically trained

                                                                                                        i.            Clinical psychology graduate students

                                                                                                      ii.            Psychiatric residents and fellows

b.      No clinical training

                                                                                                        i.            Undergraduate psychology students

c.       Control

                                                                                                        i.            Patients with schizophrenia

2.      DV

a.       MMPI-2 scores

 

C.     Procedure

1.      Clinical psychology graduate students

a.       From two clinical psychology programs and a pre-doctoral internship program

b.      Completed at least one graduate course in both psychopathology and psychological testing

2.      Psychiatric residents and fellows

a.       From psychiatric residency and fellowship program

b.      Very little familiarity with the MMPI-2 and its scales

3.      Undergraduate psychology students

a.       Recruited from undergraduate psychology course

b.      Experience varied

4.      Patients with schizophrenia

a.       Obtained from a Schizophrenia Research Registry

b.      Well managed on medication and in residual phase of illness

 

IV.              Results

A.     Significant MANOVA effects found for the 10 clinical scales F(27, 342.34) = 7.67, p < .001

 

B.     Significant MANOVA effects found for validity indicators F(21, 342.25) = 9.04, p < .001

 

V.                 Discussion

A.     Interpretation of results

1.      Clinically trained and not clinically trained groups over endorsed symptoms of schizophrenia

2.      Those with limited training and knowledge over endorsed symptoms that may not be associated with schizophrenia

 

B.     Limitations

1.      Small sample size

2.      No random sampling

3.      Participants recruited from only one population

 

C.     Critical Review