Characteristics of compensable disability patients who choose to litigate

Richard I. Lanyon, Eugene R. Almer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This study tested the hypothesis that personal characteristics, when profiled by performance on MMPI-2 scales related to attention-seeking behavior through somatization, would differ between compensable personal injury claimants who choose to go to litigation and those who choose not to litigate. The authors examined the MMPI-2 profiles and other file data, including type and severity of injury, on 96 patients who litigated and 46 who chose not to litigate. The profiles of the two groups differed significantly overall. The difference was accounted for by the litigating patients' significantly higher scores on the hypochondriasis (Hs), depression (D), and hysteria (Hy) scales. The Hs and Hy differences held up separately in claimants with physical injuries and in claimants whose injuries were psychological only. The differences also persisted after severity of injury was held constant. The profiles of the two groups did not differ in either defensiveness or exaggeration (i.e., on the validity scales L, F, and K). At least some of the differences in reported impairments between patients in general and personal injury claimants appear to be related to whether the patients choose to litigate, and the choice to litigate could be a function of personality-related, rather than situational, factors. A more definitive test of this hypothesis would require the availability of preinjury personality data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)400-404
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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