Date of Award

August 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Lawrence Lewandowski


ADHD, College Students, Feigned ADHD, Malingering, Validity test

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


Over the past 20 years, an increasing number of adults and college students have self-referred for ADHD evaluations. With the rise in adult ADHD evaluations, there has been increased concern that a proportion of these adults may be malingering the symptoms of ADHD to receive external incentives such as academic accommodations and stimulant medications. Research supports the use of well-validated measures to classify malingering in non-ADHD populations, yet all available validity tests have insufficient research to support their usage to detect this population. The present study investigated the ability of the Multidimensional ADHD Rating Scale (MARS) and two published validity tests (Word Memory Test and CAT-A Infrequency scale) to detect a group of non-ADHD college students instructed to feign ADHD, and to differentiate ADHD from non-ADHD cases. Results found that the MARS Symptom Validity Index demonstrated higher sensitivity rates for simulated malingering (75.4%) at close to optimal specificity (86.8%) compared to two published tests (sensitivity < 50%). The MARS Total Symptom index differentiated ADHD from non-ADHD cases with high sensitivity (87.1%). The study provides additional support for the effectiveness of the MARS symptom, impairment, and symptom validity indices to detect simulated cases of malingering, and to differentiate ADHD from non-ADHD cases.


Open Access