Poor effort not a factor in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients’ cognitive test results

Test effort in persons with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome when assessed using the Validity Indicator Profile
– Source: Journal of Clinical and Experimental neuropsychology, Mar 23, 2012

By SJ Cockshell, JL Mathias

The current study examined the potential contribution of suboptimal effort to the cognitive deficits that are associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) using the Validity Indicator Profile (VIP).

Unlike most tests of effort, the VIP distinguishes between intentional and unintentional poor performance and does not assess cognitive functions that are affected by CFS, thereby reducing the risk of mistakenly attributing genuinely poor performance to reduced effort.

The VIP was administered to 54 persons with CFS and 54 matched healthy community controls, and performance categorized into 1 of 4 response styles (valid: compliant; invalid: suppressed, irrelevant, inconsistent), based on the level of effort expended (high or low) and the intention to perform well or not.

VIP performance was classified as valid for the majority of participants (CFS and controls), indicating high levels of effort and an intention to perform well.

Three participants in the CFS group and four in the control group showed low levels of effort but an intention to do well (invalid: inconsistent).

No participant performed in a manner indicative of an intent to perform poorly (invalid: suppressed, inconsistent).

These findings suggest that poor effort is unlikely to contribute to cognitive test performance of persons with CFS.

Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, Mar 23, 2012. PMID:22440059, by Coskshell SJ, Mathias JL. School of Psychology, University of Adelaide, SA , Australia.

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