The current sample is from one site drawn from the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project (N = 92). Data were collected from parents at child age 14-months. Based upon scores on the “faking good” index and Abuse scale, mothers were classified into three groups: (1) “faking good” (n = 40), (2) “valid, low risk” (n = 33), or (3) “valid, high risk” (n =19). Mothers’ parenting was observed during the Three-Bag Task (Brady-Smith et al., 2000) and the following dimensions were coded: Cognitive Stimulation, Positive Regard, Sensitivity, Intrusiveness, Detachment, and Negative Regard.
Results indicated that the faking good group had significantly lower scores on cognitive stimulation and supportiveness compared with both of the valid groups. The faking good group also exhibited higher levels of detachment, intrusiveness, and negative regard compared to the valid, low risk group. These findings suggest that “faking good” on the CAPI is associated with reduced levels of supportive behaviors, and that mothers who are “faking good” are just as unsupportive (i.e., harsh, detached) as mothers with valid, but high scores on the CAPI Abuse scale. This study is among the first to look specifically at mothers with these distorted scores; the findings highlight the importance of studying exaggeration of positive attributes. Future research on the sequelae of such exaggeration may provide salient clinical information for assessments of risk and abuse.