The Fake Bad Scale (FBS)
Paul R. Lees-Haley, Ph.D., ABPP
The Fake Bad Scale (FBS) was designed to assist in the detection of personal injury
malingering with the MMPI-2 (Lees-Haley, English, & Glenn, 1991).
The expression “fake bad”
was used because historically this phrase had been applied to invalid response sets on the MMPI. In
hindsight, the FBS appears to be better thought of as in an indication of an invalid response style,
for example, in somatic injury cases, including brain injury claims, without necessarily assuming
we always know why the patient is exaggerating or presenting an invalid self portrayal. Although
originally intended for emotional distress injuries, the practice from which the scale was originally
derived included many individuals with neurological, chronic pain, orthopedic and other physical
injury claims, and a steadily growing body of peer-reviewed empirical research has indicated that
the FBS is useful in the detection of somatic malingering (e.g., cases reporting physical injuries or
pain, including neuropsychological cases).
The relevance of the FBS to somatic issues apparently
was first reported by Putnam and Adams in 1995 at the 30th Annual MMPI International
Symposium in St. Petersburg, Florida. Later Larrabee (1997) suggested that “somatic malingering
should be considered whenever elevations on scales 1 and 3 exceed T80, accompanied by a
significant elevation on the FBS) (p. 203). Recent research has also again successfully applied the
FBS to emotional distress/psychological trauma cases (e.g., see Greiffenstein, Baker, Axelrod, Peck
& Gervais, 2004).
Following are the MMPI-2 items and scored direction of answering for the Fake Bad Scale
Add one point if marked True: 11, 18, 28, 30, 31, 39, 40, 44, 59, 111, 252, 274, 325,
339, 464, 469, 505, 506
Add one point if marked False: 12, 41, 57, 58, 81, 110, 117, 152, 164, 176, 224, 227,
248, 249, 250, 255, 264, 284, 362, 373, 374, 419, 433, 496, 561
: Two methods for pro-rating FBS scores from incomplete and 370-item protocols have
been developed. They produce essentially identical results: (1) Fox, D.D. (2004, November).
Prorating the Fake Bad Scale of the MMPI-2: Empirically Derived Equation
presented at the annual meeting of the National Academy of Neuropsychology, Seattle, WA.
& (2) Nelson, N.W., Parsons, T.D., Grote, C.L., Smith, C.A., & Sisung II, J.R.
Fake Bad Scale:
Concordance and specificity of true and estimated scores.
Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 28,
This information is for researchers and others interested in the Fake Bad Scale (FBS).
We have received and continue to receive inquiries from European countries, Australia, New
Zealand, South Africa, Canada, and other countries and from scholars and clinicians in many
areas of the United States. If you are performing any new empirical studies using the FBS,
please email (preferably, to expedite copying and pasting quotations) or mail a copy of your
or Paul R. Lees-Haley, Ph.D., 3021 Panorama Drive,
Huntsville, Alabama 35801 Fax 256-551-1036, Telephone 256-551-1024. (For that matter, if
you are aware of others’ work not cited herein and don’t mind sending a note, please do that
too, regardless of the findings.) Thank you!