Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

Bullshit as Science: The Fake Bad Scale

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 22, 2010

To be sure, we all know that there are malingerers out there: but the “Fake Bad Scale” is no help whatsoever in singling them out.

A Test for Malingerers by Workers Comp Insider

Paul Lees-Haley, PhD, is a psychologist who has come up with a 43 question test to separate the truly disabled from malingerers.

Lees-Haley is either a genius or a pompous fraud right out of Mark Twain. Read on and decide for yourself.

(This posting is based upon an article by David Armstrong in the Wall Street Journal, which limits access to subscribers.)

Lees-Haley studied the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), a standard tool for determining personality characteristics. He isolated 43 questions that he believes, taken together, clearly separate the truly disabled from malingerers and frauds. Lees-Haley’s brainchild, dubbed the “Fake Bad Scale” test, was developed in 1991 and is finding its way into courtrooms around the country.

Lees-Haley is available to testify in person on behalf of insurance companies as an expert witness. He charges $3,500 to evaluate a claimant and $600 per hour for depositions and testimony. Worth every penny, I’m sure, if his testimony results in the denial of benefits to a claimant.

Testing the Test
Below you will find a sample of questions from the test, requiring a “True” or False” response. A “T” before the question indicates a “true” response is indicative of malingering. Likewise for “false.”
F My sex life is satisfactory.
T I have nightmares every few nights.
F I have very few headaches.
F I have few or no pains.
T I have more trouble concentrating than others seem to have.
T I feel tired a good deal of the time.
F I am not feeling much pressure or stress these days.

You don’t need a PhD in psychology to identify the ambiguity and unfairness in these questions, which are typical of the test as a whole.

In the aftermath of an injury, someone might well feel stressed out, have difficulty concentrating, be tired much of the time and have frequent headaches. These responses do not necessarily indicate malingering.

They can just as easily be valid indicators of post-traumatic response to injury.

The “Fake Bad Scale” fails to account for anything that might have happened in the real world. Using this corrupt measure, every survivor of the 9/11 attacks would be deemed a “malingerer.”

Fortunately, the validity of the test has come under fire.

A number of courts have thrown it out. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that untold numbers of people who have answered these questions honestly have ended up being labeled (and libeled) as “malingerers.”

Shame on the attorneys who rely on this phony science, and shame on the insurance carriers who retain them. And double shame to the originators of the MMPI, who have formally given their stamp of approval to this inept tool.

To be sure, we all know that there are malingerers out there: but the “Fake Bad Scale” is no help whatsoever in singling them out.

3 Responses to “Bullshit as Science: The Fake Bad Scale”

  1. brit guy said

    Below is a link people facing this idiots test.
    The MMPI-2 has 567 true or false questions and takes between 60-90 mins to complete.
    As the authors of the test state you need to do the whole test to get an accurate result.
    So how did this person manage to narrow it down.

    http://psychcorp.pearsonassessments.com/HAIWEB/Cultures/en-us/Productdetail.htm?Pid=MMPI-2

    • defensebaseactcomp said

      We have an affadavit from the author of the MMPI-2 stating that his test was not written to be used that way.
      It has been thrown out of numerous courtrooms
      Yet the DoL ALJ’s continue to allow it to be used.
      Any psychiatrist who would stoop so low as to do DME’s for an insurance company would have no problem using this “fake test.”
      It is easy because most of the plaintiff’s attorneys do not bother to have it disputed.
      And the psychiatrist can charge the Insurance Company for the hours it takes to administer it.

  2. brit guy said

    Hi DBAComp this is what I do not understand with all of this.

    How can something that has been thrown out of some cases be allowed in others?

    It seems that there is no consistency whatsoever with what is allowed and what is not.

    How can an unscientific test be allowed as a guide to asses a persons injuries or state of mind?

    It would appear that anybody who thinks they can make some money will do anything to line their pockets regardless of the physical, physiological damage or financial hardship they cause.

    Is this how the American dream is supposed to work.

    cras amet qui nunquam amavit; quique amavit, cras amet

    errare, nullius nisi insipientis in errore perseverare.

    falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus

    testis unus, testis nullus

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