The Self-Report Symptom Inventory as an Instrument for Detecting Symptom Over-Reporting An Exploratory Study With Instructed Simulators

Irena Boskovic*, Harald Merckelbach, Thomas Merten, Lorraine Hope, Marko Jelicic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The recently developed Self-Report Symptom Inventory (SRSI) intends to provide an alternative approach to the detection of symptom over-reporting. Unlike other measures, the SRSI includes both non-existent symptoms (i.e., pseudosymptoms) and genuine symptoms. Previous research using the German SRSI showed that people who exaggerate their complaints over-endorse both types of symptoms. In the current simulation experiment, we tested whether the Dutch and English SRSI are effective in identifying over-reporting by comparing SRSI scores of an honest group (n = 51) with those of two experimental simulator groups (pain, n = 54; anxiety, n = 53). The pain and anxiety simulators endorsed significantly more genuine symptoms and pseudosymptoms than honest participants (ηp2 = .50 and ηp2 = .30, respectively). Furthermore, pain and anxiety over-reporters specifically over-endorsed symptoms corresponding to their simulation instructions (Cohen’s ds > 0.77). Using the recommended cut-off score, the SRSI detected 48% of pain over-reporters and 73% of anxiety over-reporters, with areas under the curve (AUC) ranging from .88 to .91. These results indicate that the SRSI is a promising tool for identifying over-reporting, but further research with clinical samples is needed
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)730-739
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychological Assessment
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • SRSI
  • over-reporting
  • simulation
  • symptoms
  • SIMS

Cite this