Are Exaggerated Health Complaints Continuous or Categorical? A Taxometric Analysis of the Health Problem Overstatement Scale

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Abstract

A taxometric analysis of 3 factor scales extracted from the Health Problem Overstatement (HPO) scale of the Psychological Screening Inventory (PSI; R. I. Lanyon, 1970, 1978) was performed on the data from 1,240 forensic and psychiatric patients. Mean above minus below a cut, maximum covariance, and latent-mode factor analyses produced results indicative of dimensional latent structure for the exaggerated health complaints construct. The outcome of this and several other recent taxometric investigations indicates that across 3 different domains of feigning (i.e., psychiatric symptoms, memory problems, and health complaints), the overall feigning construct is ordered continuously along 1 or more dimensions rather than partitioned into discrete categories of malingerers and nonmalingerers. These findings call for more research on the extent to which the different domains of feigning share 1 or more dimensions in common.

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