(Received 13 May 1981; accepted 21 September 1981)
Published Online: April
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Malingering, also called shamming illness or goldbricking, is the false and fraudulent simulation or exaggeration of physical or mental disease or defect, performed in order to obtain money or drugs or to evade duty or criminal responsibility, or for other reasons that may be readily understood by an objective observer from the individual's circumstances, rather than from learning the individual's psychology. Malingering is seen in apparently normal children, students, test subjects, spouses, and adults. It is not a mental disorder. Malingering may coexist with the antisocial personality disorder, with various factitious disorders, such as the Ganser Syndrome and the Munchausen Syndrome, with the hysterias and with traumatic neuroses and other mental disorders. A review of definitions and a medicolegal discussion are presented. Malingering is an act, which is distinguished from a legal or mental status. Failure to distinguish act from status accounts for the wide disparities in definitions of malingering.
Visiting lecturer, College of Law, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
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