Utility of the structured inventory of malingered symptomatology in identifying persons motivated to malinger psychopathology.
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The Structured Inventory of Malingered Symptomatology (SIMS) is one of a number of recently developed instruments designed to identify persons exaggerating and/or fabricating psychiatric and cognitive symptomatology. Preliminary analog research indicated that the SIMS showed some promise as a screening device for identifying malingerers. This study examined the utility of the SIMS for identifying malingerers and, more importantly, its ability to distinguish truly symptomatic persons from persons fabricating symptomatology. In a sample of 197 participants who completed the SIMS and Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R) under both honest and malingering instructional sets, sensitivity and specificity rates were generally high for the SIMS Total score and subscales. However, moderate correlations with the SCL-90-R were obtained in this sample, and specificity rates were lowest among a subset of participants reporting clinically significant levels of distress; both findings raise concerns regarding the potential for high false positive rates among clinical populations. Implications for clinical forensic practice are discussed and recommendations for future research are offered.