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Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Dissertation (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Committee Chair

Michael Daniel, PhD

Second Advisor

Louise Marasco, PhD

Abstract

The Word Memory Test (WMT) is a performance validity test used to evaluate if an examinee’s effort during neuropsychological testing is sufficient to obtain valid results. It is designed to detect suboptimal effort or exaggeration of symptoms while being insensitive to all but the most severe forms of cognitive dysfunction. Most studies to date on the WMT have used samples involved in criminal or civil litigation and research using nonlitigant clinical samples is scarce. The current study examined the relationship of WMT performance to neuropsychological test scores and Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) scores in both litigant and nonlitigant participants. Results indicated that although those who “failed” the WMT obtained significantly lower neuropsychological test scores than those who passed, mean neuropsychological performance was within the average range for both groups. Patients who “failed” the WMT also had significantly higher scores on the Negative Impression scale on the PAI. Further, litigants in this sample were no more likely to “fail” the WMT than nonlitigants. Clinical implications of these results are discussed.

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