Attitudes towards malingering: A study among general practitioners and mental health officers in the military

Iulian Iancu, Yoram Ben-Yehuda, Roslan Yazvitzky, Yitzhak Rosen, Haim Y. Knobler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: The authors assessed the attitudes of military physicians and mental health officers regarding the phenomenon of malingering. Method: Questionnaires on attitudes regarding malingering and possible cues indicative of deception were sent to 115 general practitioners (GPs) and mental health officers (MHOs) in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Results: 91 responses were received- a response rate of 80%. All the respondents claimed that they had seen cases of malingering. They estimated that every fourth soldier is malingering. GPs claimed that they had seen more cases of malingering as compared to MHOs. Those who estimated that malingering is very frequent in the military, also had higher estimates of malingering in their civil work. The most indicative clues of malingering among soldiers were inconsistency, flamboyant complaints, exaggeration of symptoms and accentuation of secondary gain. Conclusions: Among IDF GPs and MHOs, there currently appears to be moderate consensus regarding the frequency of malingering and its characteristic signs. The study provides further support to the notion that malingering is an important clinical phenomenon. We believe that the issue merits further research and scrutiny.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-389
Number of pages17
JournalMedicine and Law
Volume22
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Deception
  • Malingering
  • Military medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Law

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