Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Psychology


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Irene Froyland


Chronic low back pain costs the community, and several authors have suggested that individuals often attempt to exaggerate chronic low back pain. Currently no reliable and valid scale for assessing malingering in chronic pain populations exists, and there is a large difference in opinion on the ability of experts using clinical judgment to detect malingering. The current study seeks to provide a validation for the BarkemeyerCallon-Jones Malingering Detection Scale (MDS) which has purported to be able to identify individuals attempting to malinger neurological conditions and pain. A simulation design was used, as in previous research, because it is difficult to identify actual malingerers in a known groups design. Thirty-two men with chronic low back pain were divided into two groups of sixteen. One group was asked to simulate malingering for the purposes of gaining an increased compensation while the other group is asked to be as honest as possible. The hypotheses tested were whether the responses to the MDS can: discriminate between simulating malingerers and controls, show an increased focus on severity rather than description of pain by simulating malingerers, show a relationship between malingering scores and reported pain levels, show that prior litigation contributes to either MDS scores or reported pain levels. Significance was assessed using chi square, t-test, bivariate correlation and two ANOVAs. While the MDS was able to discriminate to a significant level between participants asked to malinger and those being honest, methodological issues suggest that levels of pre-assessment injury contribute to malingering scores and that conscious intent is what separates malingering from psychological disorders (abnormal illness behaviour) is context bound. Litigation has no effect on reported pain level or MDS scores.