Malingering is the dishonest and intentional production of symptoms. It can cause considerable difficulty as assessment runs counter to normal practice, and it may expose clinicians to testing medicolegal situations. In this first part of a two-article review, we explore types of psychiatric malingering and their occurrence across a range of common and challenging scenarios, discussing presentations that may help delineate true from feigned illness. A framework is provided for undertaking an assessment where malingering is suspected, including recommendations on clinician approach, the use of collateral information, and self-evaluation of biases. The uses, and limitations, of psychometric tests are discussed, including ‘general’, malingering-specific and ‘symptom validity’ scales.
• Understand the challenges of determining ‘real’ from ‘malingered’ symptomatology across a range of psychiatric conditions
• Have a rational strategy for approaching a clinical assessment where malingering is suspected
• Appreciate the role and limitations of various psychometric tests that can be used in such assessments