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The European Journal of Psychiatry

versión impresa ISSN 0213-6163


SORIA, Miguel Ángel; YEPES, Montserrat  y  ARMADANS, Inmaculada. Effectiveness of clinical assessment in Spanish forensic practice: detecting malingered psychological sequelae in victims of intimate partner violence. Eur. J. Psychiat. [online]. 2011, vol.25, n.1, pp.8-18. ISSN 0213-6163.

Background and Objectives: According to Spanish legislation, the psychological harm suffered by the victim of a criminal act is determined by assessing its impact on the victim's mental state. Usually, the victim's pain and suffering is estimated by administering clinical scales. The aim of the present study was to explore the effectiveness of psychopathological assessment using commonly used scales in clinical practice and whose results are presented as legal evidence in a forensic context in order to detect malingered psychological sequelae (anxiety, depression and low self-esteem) in victims of intimate partner violence in forensic contexts. Methods: In the present study three scales based in a clinical setting and regularly used in a forensic context were administered (BDI, STAI and Rosenberg) to assess malingering of symptoms. The sample comprised 66 women: 36 students, and 30 real victims. The non-clinical sample was evaluated twice: the first time they gave sincere responses, and the second time they were instructed to answer as if they were victims. The real victims underwent testing in a forensic context. Results and Conclusions: The results of our research show that, even without previous knowledge of the scales, people can distort the test results by malingering symptoms that are normally accepted as sequelae of intimate partner violence, especially depression and low self-esteem; however, the results for anxiety, were less homogeneous. Although these tests are used extensively in clinical psychology, our study confirms that, just by themselves, they are not a reliable source of information in a forensic context.

Palabras clave : Malingering; Intimate partner violence; Psychological injury; Forensic and clinical assessment; Victimization.

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