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Can naive subjects simulate whiplash responses?

 Faking a profile: can naive subjects simulate whiplash responses?
AUTHORS: Wallis BJ; Bogduk N
AUTHOR AFFILIATION: Cervical Spine Research Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia.
SOURCE: Pain 1996 Aug;66(2-3):223-7
CITATION IDS: PMID: 8880844 UI: 97035188
ABSTRACT: The psychological symptom checklist, the SCL-90-R (Derogatis 1983), has been used to assess patients with a number of chronic pain syndromes. For whiplash injury, a characteristic profile has been found (Wallis et al. 1995). However, there is still a belief that patients with neck pain following whiplash injury may be malingering, and therefore the utility of the SCL-90-R as a screen for possible malingering is assessed here. Forty pain-free university students were asked to simulate chronic pain 6 months after a motor vehicle accident in order to ensure compensation. The SCL-90-R, McGill Pain Questionnaire and a visual analogue pain scale were used. Students' scores were compared with those of a group of 132 whiplash patients (Wallis et al. 1995). Differences between the two groups were striking; the students scored significantly higher than patients on all subscales of the SCL-90-R and on the visual analogue pain scale (Mann-Whitney P-values all less than 0.001). However, pain scores for both groups on the McGill Pain Questionnaire were similar. The conclusion was that it is very difficult for an ingenuine individual to fake a psychological profile typical of a whiplash patient.



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