BEHAVIORAL RESPONSES TO EXAMINATION: A REAPPRAISAL OF THE INTERPRETATION OF "NONORGANIC SIGNS"
 
   

Behavioral Responses to Examination: A Reappraisal
of the Interpretation of "Nonorganic Signs"

This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
Send all comments or additions to:
   Frankp@chiro.org
 
   

FROM:   SPINE (Phila Pa 1976) 1998 (Nov 1):   23 (21) Nov 1;   23672371

Main CJ, Waddell G

Department of Behavioral Medicine,
Hope Hospital, Manchester, England


Waddell et al in 1980 developed a standardized assessment of behavioral responses to examination. The signs were associated with other clinical measures of illness behavior and distress, and are not simply a feature of medicolegal presentations. Despite clear caveats about the interpretation of the signs, they have been misinterpreted and misused both clinically and medicolegally. Behavioral responses to examination provide useful clinical information, but need to be interpreted with care and understanding.

Isolated signs should not be overinterpreted. Multiple signs suggest that the patient does not have a straightforward physical problem, but that psychological factors also need to be considered. Some patients may require both physical management of their physical pathology and more careful management of the psychosocial and behavioral aspects of their illness.

Behavioral signs should be understood as response affected by fear in the context of recovery from injury and the development of chronic incapacity. They offer only a psychological "yellow-flag" and not a complete psychological assessment. Behavioral signs are not on their own a test of credibility or faking.


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