Ability of college students to simulate ADHD on objective measures of attention

Randee Lee Booksh, Russell D. Pella, Ashvind N. Singh, William Drew Gouvier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Objective: The authors examined the ability of college students to simulate ADHD symptoms on objective and self-report measures and the relationship between knowledge of ADHD and ability to simulate ADHD. Method: Undergraduate students were assigned to a control or a simulated ADHD malingering condition and compared with a clinical AD/HD group. The authors used several clinical attentional measures and symptom validity tests to differentiate experimental groups via a series of multivariate procedures. Results: Simulators successfully feigned ADHD symptoms on a retrospective self-report measure. Moreover, knowledge of ADHD was unrelated to objective attentional measure performance. Overall, participants who simulated ADHD on some objective measures (i.e., specific Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III [WAIS-III] subtests) showed similar performance to the clinical ADHD comparison sample. Conclusion: The implications of these findings highlight the importance of relying on multiple vectors of information, be it objective, observational, self-report, or reports by others, when diagnosing ADHD and assessing factors related to potential secondary gain. (J. of Att. Dis. 2010; 13(4) 325-338).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-338
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Attention Disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • AD/HD
  • ADHD
  • Attention
  • Malingering
  • Neuropsychology
  • Psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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