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The Development and Classification Accuracy of the Life Assessment Questionnaire in the Detection of Pain-Related Malingering


Blake H. Tearnan, Ph.D., Renown Rehabilitation Hospital, 1495 Mill Street, Reno, NV 89502. E-mail:


This paper describes three phases of the development and validation of the Life Assessment Questionnaire (LAQ), a multi-scale inventory for assessing potential malingering in adults reporting chronic pain. Study 1 involved scale construction and item analysis. Discriminant validity was investigated in Study 2 by comparing scores for the clinical reference group with participants instructed to simulate chronic pain. Study 3 examined the convergent validity of the LAQ with the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2) and Behavioral Assessment of Pain (BAP). Results revealed that the simulation groups scored significantly higher than the clinical reference group across all scales. Receiver operating characteristic analysis revealed sensitivity and specificity scores ranging from 0.44 to 0.57 and 0.88 to 0.93, respectively. Positive predictive power values ranged between 0.79 and 0.88. Strong convergent validity was found for the LAQ. These studies demonstrated the effectiveness of the LAQ in classifying individuals who feign pain complaints, supporting the utility of the LAQ for reaching conclusions about the presence of malingering. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.