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Dissertation

An item response theory analysis of sex differences with the Miller Forensic Assessment of Symptoms Test

24 July 2014

Abstract

Malingering is present in all settings; however, rates of malingering are higher in forensic settings than in the community. Males make up the vast majority of the incarcerated population and therefore the psychological measures created for this population have focused on males. With the rapidly increasing rate of females entering the correctional system, it is important to assess the utility of these measures with both males and females. The Miller Forensic Assessment of Symptoms Test (M-FAST) is a screening measure for feigning severe mental health symptoms and is often used in forensic and correctional settings. Several M-FAST items assess mood disorder symptoms and there is a known sex difference in the prevalence of mood symptoms. Using a sample of male and female prison inmates, several statistical analyses were conducted to determine whether the mood items function differently between the sexes. The results of the analysis indicated that the mood items functioned similarly with both males and females and that females were no more likely to endorse the mood items than males. These results are discussed in terms of use of the M-FAST with both males and females in correctional settings.


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