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Thesis

Effort and neuropsychological test scores in litigant and nonlitigant populations

19 July 2012

Abstract

The Word Memory Test (WMT) is a symptom validity test used to determine if effort during neuropsychological evaluation is sufficient to obtain valid results. It is designed to be sensitive to poor effort or exaggeration of symptoms but insensitive to all but the most severe forms of cognitive impairment. Historically, effort tests were primarily administered only to patients involved in legal or forensic cases (Lynch, 2004); therefore, most of the research on the WMT has been conducted with individuals involved in criminal or civil litigation. To expand the research base for the WMT, the current study used both litigant and nonlitigant patients from a clinical setting in order to evaluate how WMT performance affects neuropsychological test scores in this population. Results showed that litigants in this sample were no more likely to fail the WMT than non-litigants. Neither did litigant status have a significant effect on neuropsychological test scores. However, individuals who passed the WMT obtained significantly higher neuropsychological test scores than those who failed the WMT. Clinical implications of these results are discussed.


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