Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology



First Advisor

Peter F. Merenda


This study outlines specific steps for guiding bilingual psychologists in the administration of psychological testing instruments. The study delineates the discrimination of subtle behavioral responses, the identification of various forms of low motivation, evasiveness, and malingering during the assessment procedure.

One hundred disability immigrant claimants of Portuguese and Puerto Rican background took part in this study. Data on file from their psychological reports was analyzed and two hypotheses were tested. The findings indicate that there is a strong relationship between the subjects' cognitive functioning, their adaptive behavior, and academic achievement in their native countries. There was also a significant relationship revealed between low motivation/malingering behavior and cognitive functioning.

The results of this study cannot be generalized to the rest of the Portuguese/or Puerto Rican population. However, this study's results are relevant to the typical Portuguese and Puerto Rican claimant who is unemployed and is seeking disability benefits in the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. It is hoped that this study will help the respective Rehabilitation Commissions improve their ability to serve claimants of limited English ability by improving their assessment procedures and in facilitating the identification of more appropriate working environments and rehabilitation opportunities.

Steps for conducting a structured bilingual interview are explained. The implications for the future training of psychologists are discussed in terms of non-discriminatory testing assessment procedures, treatment and ethnic sensitivity, and public policy.



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