Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



The assessment of credible responding with objective measures is an important part of neuropsychological and psychoeducational evaluations. Performance validity tests (PVTs) can be used to evaluate whether scores on performance-based measures accurately represent an individual’s true ability. Although non-credible responding has been observed in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and specific learning disorder (SLD) evaluations, limited research has been conducted on PVTs in adult and pediatric psychoeducational (psychoed) samples. As such, the present study sought to investigate the use of PVTs in adult and pediatric psychoed samples. Study 1 examined base rates of the PVT failure and investigated the psychometric properties of the Medical Symptom Validity Test (MSVT) in a sample of 242 adults seeking a psychoed evaluation at a university affiliated clinic. Study 2 examined base rates of failure on the MSVT and the Pediatric Performance validity Test Suite (PdPVTS) in sample of 53 children and adolescents seeking a psychoed evaluational at an outpatient medical clinic or University affiliated clinic. Results of Study 1 revealed similar base rates of failure on the MSVT from previous studies that did not appear to vary as a function of referral or accommodation seeking status. The MSVT exhibited relatively robust specificity and sensitivity consistent with other PVTs used in this population but did not demonstrate incremental validity in predicting cognitive measures beyond criterion PVTs. However, the MSVT evidenced some incremental validity in predicting scores on cognitive measures beyond embedded SVTs. Results of Study 2 revealed high rates of failure on the MSVT when not accounting for grade level and lower base rates of failure for the PdPVTS in the full sample and across age groups. Taken together the results demonstrate that adult psychoed samples fail PVTs at a much higher rate than pediatric samples when they are administered PVTs that are appropriate for their ability level.



Committee Chair

Calamia, Matthew


Available for download on Friday, May 14, 2027