Utility of the Personality Assessment Inventory for Detecting Malingered ADHD in College Students

Mandi W. Musso, Benjamin D. Hill, Alyse A. Barker, Russell D. Pella, Wm Drew Gouvier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of the current study is to examine the utility of the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) for detecting feigned ADHD in college students. Method: A sample of 238 undergraduate students was recruited and asked to simulate ADHD (ADHD simulators) or respond honestly (controls) on the PAI. Archival data (n = 541) from individuals diagnosed with clinical ADHD, no diagnosis, learning disorder, mood/anxiety, comorbid ADHD-mood/anxiety, or suspect effort were used. Results: Few individuals scored above the cutoffs on PAI validity scales. When alternative cutoff scores were examined, cutoffs of ≥77 on the Negative Impression Management (NIM) scale, ≥3 on the Malingering Index (MAL), and ≥1 on the Rogers Discriminant Function (RDF) yielded excellent specificity in all groups and sensitivities of.33,.30, and.20, respectively. Conclusion: Individuals who were asked to simulate ADHD easily manipulate the PAI; however, alternative cutoff scores proposed for PAI validity indices may improve the detection of feigned ADHD symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)763-774
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Attention Disorders
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Personality Assessment Inventory
  • adult ADHD
  • college students
  • comorbid psychopathology
  • malingering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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