Holly A, Miller, PhD
The M-FAST is a brief 25-item screening interview for individuals ages 18 years and older that provides information regarding the probability that the client is feigning psychiatric illness. Most malingering and symptom validity instruments assess malingered cognitive and/or neuropsychological deficits. The M-FAST focuses exclusively on malingered psychiatric illness.
The brief structured interview format saves valuable clinical time and provides considerable flexibility for the clinician to determine when, where, and to whom the M-FAST should be administered. The M-FAST may be integrated into a larger evaluation with minimal difficulty.
The M-FAST also facilitates rapid identification of individuals who require additional assessment. When the M-FAST results indicate a probability of feigning, a more comprehensive assessment instrument (e.g. the Structured Interview of Reported Symptoms [SIRS]) may be administered to obtain more detailed and definitive information.
The M-FAST scales operationalise response styles and interview strategies that have been demonstrated to successfully identify individuals who are attempting to feign psychopathology: Reported vs. Observed (symptoms) (RO), Extreme Symptomatology (ES), Rare Combinations (RC), Unusual Hallucinations (UH), Unusual Symptom Course (USC), Negative Image (NI), and Suggestibility (S).
The M-FAST Professional Manual provides information about administration, scoring and interpretation (with illustrative case examples). M-FAST results provide interpretive information at three distinct levels:
- The M-FAST Total score provides an estimate of the likelihood that the respondent is malingering psychopathology.
- The M-FAST scale scores provide information about the nature of the individual's response styles that may help to explain how the client are attempting to malinger mental illness; and
- The UH, RC, RO, and ES scales have been found to consistently differentiate malingerers (both simulators and known or suspected malingerers) from honest responders.
Responses to individual items also provide valuable interpretive information.
Reliability and Validity
The M-FAST was developed and validated with both simulation and known-groups samples. Validity also has been demonstrated across gender and ethnic/racial groups, and across settings (inpatient, outpatient and nonclinical).
The M-FAST may be used in a wide variety of settings (e.g., V.A. hospitals, correctional institutions and inpatient/outpatient treatment facilities).
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