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General practitioners' approach to malingering in basic military training centres
  1. Alper Tunga Kokcu1,2 and
  2. E Kurt3
  1. 1Primary Health Care Centre, Gendarmerie Training Battalion Command, Canakkale, Turkey
  2. 2Department of History of Medicine and Ethics, Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Faculty of Medicine, Canakkale, Turkey
  3. 3Department of History of Medicine and Ethics, Gulhane Military Medical Academy, Faculty of Military Medicine, Ankara, Turkey
  1. Correspondence to Maj Alper Tunga Kokcu, Primary Health Care Centre, Gendarmerie Training Battalion Command, Canakkale 17600, Turkey; alpertungakokcu{at}comu.edu.tr

Abstract

Objectives Malingering can be defined as the abuse of the right to benefit from the health services. In this study, the frequency of the malingering cases in Basic Military Training Centres (BMTCs) and the behaviours and the attitudes of the military physicians towards the recruits who are suspected malingerers were described.

Method A total of 17 general practitioners in nine different BMTCs in different regions of Turkey constitute the universe of this descriptive study. In the questionnaire, there were a total of 30 questions about the descriptive characteristics of the participants and their attitudes and behaviours towards malingering. Informed consent form and a questionnaire were applied through the intranet via participants' emails. In the study, 15 physicians were reached with a response rate of 88.2%.

Results All of the physicians suspected malingering in some of the soldiers who were examined. A total of 80% of the physicians (n=12) suspected malingering in at least 10% of the patients they examined. Only 13.3% of the physicians (n=2) had officially diagnosed a case of malingering in the last training period. All of the participants stated that they did not report the official decision for every soldier suspected of malingering. Instead of reporting official decision for malingering, the military physicians apply alternative procedures for suspected malingerers.

Conclusions In countries where the military service is compulsory, prevalence of malingering is estimated to be higher (approximately 5–25%). The problem of malingering is often underestimated due to the fact it is usually overlooked. Malingering remains a problem for the entire military healthcare system, due to the difficulties in exact diagnosis. Therefore, it can be useful to take some practical administrative measures for the soldiers who are prone to malingering, in order to discourage the behaviour.

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  • Received November 6, 2015.
  • Revision received April 25, 2016.
  • Accepted May 15, 2016.
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