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Clínica y Salud

versión On-line ISSN 2174-0550versión impresa ISSN 1130-5274


SANTAMARIA, Pablo; CAPILLA RAMIREZ, Pilar  y  GONZALEZ ORDI, Héctor. Health professionals’ perceptions of prevalence of malingering in temporary disability in Spain. Clínica y Salud [online]. 2013, vol.24, n.3, pp.139-151. ISSN 2174-0550.

In spite of the economic and social relevance of the prevalence of malingering in temporary incapacity, there are very few studies in Spain dealing with this problem. The aim of the present paper is to address this matter by looking into those pathologies that according to professionals show the highest rates of malingering in the medico-legal context. For this purpose, we used an incidental sample of 161 doctors (56% of them were women) from 26 different Spanish provinces, with an age range of 30 to 59 (M = 43.6, SD = 6.5) and an average seniority on the job of 17 years (SD = 6.3). They were asked to complete a brief questionnaire indicating those pathologies in which they thought malingering was more frequent, what percentage of these conditions they thought was simulated, the sociodemographic profile of malingerers (age, income, occupation, etc.), and what data they considered to be an indication for suspicion. The results showed that the doctors perceived the highest rates of malingering to be associated with chronic pain conditions (cervical sprain, lumbago, neck and shoulder pain, fibromyalgia) and affective/emotional conditions (anxiety and depression). The prototypical sociodemographic profile was a middle-aged person, with an unstimulating job and a low or moderate income, and who once had an injury or disorder and decided to prolong it over time in order to maintain the benefits obtained. These results are presented within the frame of the adaptive malingering model and linked to the need to develop specific malingering protocols which minimize the risk of false positives and false negatives in the assessment process.

Palabras clave : Malingering; Feigning; Disability; Injured workers; Lower-back pain; Whiplash; Anxiety; Depression; Fibromyalgia.

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