Thesis

Gender differences in the acceptability of maliningering

The present study examined participant’s ratings on the acceptability of malingering physical pain within three situational contexts (i.e., malingering to obtain prescription pain medication, to avoid work, and to be given a lighter work duty in the military). First, it was predicted that male participants would rate it more acceptable for females to malinger to be given a lighter work duty in the military than female participants. Second, it was predicted that malingering to obtain prescription pain medication would be the least accepted form of malingering regardless of the sex of the participant or the character within the vignette. Third, it was predicted that malingering to avoid work would be the most accepted form of malingering in this study. Participants (N = 504) rated the degree of acceptability on one randomly assigned vignette involving malingering and filled out a demographic questionnaire. All forms of malingering explored in this study were found to be uniformly unacceptable, and none of the hypotheses were supported. Exploratory analyses revealed that males showed a higher overall acceptability of malingering among the three vignettes compared to females. Male participants found it more acceptable to malinger to obtain prescription pain medication compared to females. Finally, it was found that female participants also found it more acceptable to malinger in order to avoid work compared to getting pain medication or to be given a lighter military work duty. The unexpected findings within this study suggest psychological research should be conducted on the topic of the acceptability of malingering.

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