Performance Validity Testing in Justice-Involved Adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

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Mullally, Katelyn
McLachlan, Kaitlyn
MacKillop, Emily
Pei, Jacqueline

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Cambridge University Press


Objectives: A number of commonly used performance validity tests (PVTs) may be prone to high failure rates when used for individuals with severe neurocognitive deficits. This study investigated the validity of 10 PVT scores in justice-involved adults with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), a neurodevelopmental disability stemming from prenatal alcohol exposure and linked with severe neurocognitive deficits. Method: The sample comprised 80 justice-involved adults (ages 19 – 40) including 25 with confirmed or possible FASD and 55 where FASD was ruled out. Ten PVT scores were calculated, derived from Word Memory Test, Genuine Memory Impairment Profile, Advanced Clinical Solutions (Word Choice), the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale - Fourth Edition (Reliable Digit Span and age corrected scaled scores (ACSS) from Digit Span, Coding, Symbol Search, Coding - Symbol Search, Vocabulary - Digit Span), and the Wechsler Memory Scale - Fourth Edition (Logical Memory II Recognition). Results: Participants with diagnosed/possible FASD were more likely to fail any single PVT, and failed a greater number of PVTs overall, compared to those without FASD. They were also more likely to fail based on Word Memory Test, Digit Span ACSS, Coding ACSS, Symbol Search ACSS and Logical Memory II Recognition, compared to controls (35% - 76%). Across both groups, substantially more participants with IQ <70 failed two or more PVTs (90%), compared to those with an IQ ≥70 (44%).
Conclusions: Results highlight the need for additional research examining the use of PVTs in justice-involved populations with FASD.



Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, performance validity testing, forensic assessment, neuropsychological assessment, non-credible responding, reliability, validity, prenatal alcohol exposure