Date of Award
Master of Science
Committee Chair or Primary Advisor
John H. Casada
Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor
Timothy S. Perkins
Third Committee Member or Committee Reader
Charles W. Wadlington
An increase in the number of adults seeking ADHD evaluations as college students in recent years raises concerns of malingered or exaggerated attentional impairments. Some students may falsely report ADHD symptoms in an attempt to obtain academic accommodations as well as prescriptions for stimulant medications. Meanwhile, little attention has been given to the development of either self-reported measures or performance-based tests that can ensure the validity of reported or exhibited attentional symptoms. In 2015, Multi-Health Systems Inc. (MHS) released an improved version of a continuous performance test, the Conners Continuous Performance 3rd Edition (Conners CPT 3), which may have improved ability to differentiate genuine from feigned attentional deficit. At this time, no prior studies are known to have investigated the ability of the Conners CPT 3 to distinguish between individuals with ADHD and those mimicking attentional symptoms, and to delineate how they differ. In this study, college students with no history or diagnosis of ADHD were asked to mimic symptoms of attentional impairment while completing Conners CPT 3 assessment. Though this study is limited by small sample size and is lacking in sample diversity, significant differences were found for many variables with a few showing non-overlapping confidence intervals. The results indicate that students exaggerated the presumed ADHD symptoms, on Conners CPT 3 variables such as Detectability, Omissions, Hit Reaction Time, and Hit Reaction Time Standard Deviation. This suggests that when subjects with no history of attentional impairment attempt to present ADHD symptoms, they generally make more mistakes than clinical samples with attentional dysfunction; frequently by reacting to stimuli discriminatively while responding less to target stimuli. In addition, simulators were seen to produce slower responses, with more variability than individuals with ADHD. These results offer initial evidence that standard neuropsychological measures of sustained attention and vigilance to task may be useful in identifying those feigning or exaggerating attentional impairment. Implications for clinical practice, assessment, and future research are described.
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Chatchawarat, Peerasin, "ADHD Malingering In A College Setting" (2019). Digital Commons @ ACU, Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 140.