Assessing Negative Response Bias in Competency to Stand Trial Evaluations

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Oxford University Press, 2018 - Competency to stand trial - 270 pages

Evaluations of a defendant's competence to stand trial (CST) are probably the most frequently performed forensic evaluations, with estimates in the United States ranging from 60,000 to 70,000 annually. In order for CST evaluations to be considered thorough and accurate, examiners must assess for possible lack of cooperation, feigning, or malingering - the intentional production or gross exaggeration of false or grossly exaggerated physical or psychiatric symptoms, motivated by external incentives. Yet, there are accounts that CST examiners often do not assess for negative response bias, and even if they do nevertheless fail to identify a considerable number of examinees that do feign.

Assessing Negative Response Bias in Competency to Stand Trial Evaluations provides readers with a comprehensive guide to assessing whether a defendant has feigned mental impairment during a competency to stand trial evaluation, or simply did not put forth his/her best effort. This book reviews the literature on assessing feigning and negative response bias, with particular focus on issues, tests, and data relevant to CST evaluations, and examines proposed criteria and statistical methods of determining and classifying assessment results. It introduces readers to aspects of the vibrant neuropsychological response style literature, an area many forensic psychologists appear to have overlooked. Additionally, it offers recommendations for research and policy regarding the parameters of CST assessment.


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1 Introduction
Data Gathering and Interview Strategy
3 CST Instruments and General Clinical Measures
4 Instruments for Assessing Feigned or Exaggerated Psychopathology
5 Tests of Feigned or Exaggerated Cognitive Impairment
6 Measures of Feigned or Exaggerated Incompetence
7 Means of Combining or Summarizing Data
8 Special Problems and Populations in Feigned Incompetence
10 A Survey of Competency to Stand Trial Examiners
11 Systemic Policy and Research Issues
Appendix A Area Under the Curve Explained
Appendix B Selected Test Indices With Approximately 90 Specificity in Multiple Relevant Studies and Associated Cutoff Scores Sensitivities and Cit...

9 Report Writing and Testimony

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About the author (2018)

Steve Rubenzer, PhD, ABPP, received his doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Houston. He has worked in the field of forensic psychology since 1995, earned his board certification in forensic psychology in 2004 after completing work samples in competency and sanity assessment, and has authored multiple peer-reviewed papers on response style assessment in competency to stand trial and disability evaluations. He has performed approximately four thousand competency exams in Texas, New Hampshire, and Alabama, on cases ranging from trespassing to the highest profile capital murder.

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