Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 4-30-2021

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

John Young

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

The rate of college students attempting to obtain Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) diagnoses in order to gain access to prescription stimulant medications has shown a large increase over the past 20 years. Research has also shown that college students are frequently able to convincingly present themselves as meeting clinical criteria for ADHD with relative ease, meaning that the barrier to false presentation for the purpose of obtaining inappropriately prescribed medication is minimal. There is a need for more concise, accurate tools to detect these efforts in clinical settings, which is an area of research pursued by members of the University of Mississippi faculty (Ramachandran et al., 2019). The current study sought to examine this tool in the context of simultaneous administration of several other measures of anxiety, depression, stress, and ADHD in a partially randomized trial. A total of 68 individuals (57 female; 11 male) were recruited to respond to a battery of self reports and participate in a verbally-administered, structured clinical interview for ADHD. Respondents were assigned to one of three groups: 1) ADHD; 2) normal responding; or 3) malingering. The first group was based on self-reported, historical, formal diagnosis and the latter two were randomly assigned. Results indicated that group assignment was a significant predictor of overall score on the malingering detection measure, but score on this measure did not reliably distinguish all three groups. Additionally, no patterns from overall responses to the other measures emerged that could accurately discriminate malingering from true ADHD. These findings are in contrast with previous research done on this campus indicating highly reliable detection of malingering (Ramachandran et al., 2019). The implications of these issues, particularly in terms of developing more refined methods of malingering detection, are discussed.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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