Current issues in the diagnosis and management of malingering

Charles J. LoPiccolo, Karl Goodkin, Teri T. Baldewicz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

44 Scopus citations


Malingering is a diagnosis that is frequently avoided by physicians. When there is a claim of symptoms or diseases that either are exaggerated or do not exist, the diagnosis of malingering should be entertained. Malingering is associated with a conscious intent to deceive in order to obtain a known gain. Psychoanalytical, criteria-based (DSM-IV) and 'adaptational' models have been advanced to explain malingering. The differential diagnosis of malingering includes factitious disorder, the somatoform disorders, the dissociative disorders, and specific medical conditions without somatoform disorder. Upon consideration of the differential diagnosis, confirmation of the suspicion of malingering is still required in order to make the diagnosis. Confirmation can be achieved by observation or by inferential methods. Observation can be employed with controlled environment observation or with covert, 'real-world' surveillance; inference may involve primary and/or secondary source information. It may be concluded that a greater attempt should be made to identify this diagnosis, as the cost of malingering to society is considerable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-174
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1999



  • Diagnosis
  • Malingering
  • Management
  • Psychopathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this