In all major police organizations, personnel selection and assignment are critical issues to be faced by the administrator. In the past decade or so increasing crime rates, decreasing budgets, heightened tensions in many communities, inappropriate conduct by a few law enforcement officers (e. g. , the Rodney King incident) and legislative and judicial requirements such as “affirmative action” and calls for “community policing” have made the identification and selection of qualified personnel an issue of increasing importance (Moriarty & Field, 1994).
Numerous studies have been published, using different populations in different situations, which support the validity of psychological tests as predictors of future law enforcement officer performance. Most frequent in the empirical literature are studies involving the Minnesota Personality Inventory (MMPI), Inwald Personality Inventory (IPI), and the California Psychological Inventory (CPI), NEO PI-R Personality Test and Inwald Personality Inventory (IPI).
This paper will compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of the different personality inventories utilized in the police selection process, as illustrated in scholarly research. Background Many law enforcement agencies have elected to use some form of psychological testing to prevent the hiring of people ill-suited for law enforcement careers (Meier et al. , 1987). The last decades have witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of law enforcement agencies using psychological services and testing.
For example, in 1979, Parisher, Rios, and Reilley published results from a survey of 174 urban police departments to learn what psychological services each used. The authors found that only 20% of the responding agencies used psychological services. However, just nine years later, Delprino and Bahn (1988) found that more than half of the 220 responding law enforcement agencies they surveyed were using psychological services for applicant screening, treating job related stress, or providing officers with counseling for personal and family problems.
Ash et al. (1990) surveyed the fifty largest municipal, and all forty-nine state, police agencies (the State of Hawaii has no such agency) to ask what selection procedures the departments use to hire new law enforcement officers. Thirty-six of the state police departments, and twenty-six of the municipal departments responded. Sixty-four percent of the state police departments and seventy-three percent of the municipal departments reported using written personality tests to aid in making employment decisions. Sixty-percent (59.
7%) of the departments using personality testing used the MMPI, while eight-percent (8. 1%) used the IPI. The authors note that the thirty-six state police departments reported forty-two uses of ten different personality-type tests, with some agencies using more than one such test. The twenty-six municipal departments reported forty uses of fifteen different tests. Municipal agencies were significantly more inclined than state police departments to use personality testing in the employment process. Police candidates generally are carefully selected after a thorough multi-faceted psychological evaluation.
Such evaluations typically include an interview, intelligence test and self-report measures of personality and psychopathology. The MMPI, or its more recent revision, the MMPI-2 is probably the most commonly used self-report measure in these evaluations (Burbeck & Fumham, 1984). Personality Inventories Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory The MMPI is used more than any other psychological test in studies examining the effectiveness of various employment screening procedures (Dwyer et al. , 1990). The MMPI is also the psychological test most used for screening law enforcement officers (Ash et al.
, 1990). The MMPI was created by Hathaway & McKinley, a psychologist and psychiatrist, and first published by the University of Minnesota Press in 1943. The MMPI consists of 550 self-referenced statements, or items; sixteen items are repeated for a total pool of 566 items (Friedman, Webb, & Lewak, 1989). The MMPI is administered by using a test booklet, given to the person being tested, who responds to each item by marking an answer sheet with either “T the item is true for them,” or “F it is false. ” Scores are calculated for thirteen scales, 3 validity scales and 10 primary clinical scales.
The validity scales are used to determine whether or not a person answered the items in an open and honest manner; while the clinical scales show emotional adjustment or level of psychiatric impairment (Friedman, Webb, & Lewak, 1989). According to Dwyer et al. , (1990), the MMPI is a highly reliable and useful instrument for identifying and screening-out people with psychological disorders. Additionally, Friedman, et al. (1989) suggest that the MMPI is also useful for predicting which police candidates will probably be successful police officers.
The MMPI’s value and the use of psychopathology alone as a criterion for screening out unacceptable applicants has been questioned by several researchers (Shusman, 1987). Conscious of this debate and the unavailability of psychological tests specifically designed to evaluate the psychological fitness of law enforcement candidates led Inwald, Knatz, and Shusman (1983) to develop the Inwald Personality Inventory (IPI), a specialized instrument “to screen out candidates suffering from psychoses and severe character disorders (e. g.
, substance abuse habits) which would seriously function as a law enforcement officer” (p. 1). Inwald Personality Inventory Compared to the MMPI, the Inwald Personality Inventory (IPI) is a relatively new written psychological test created by Inwald and her associates (Inwald, Knatz, & Shusman, 1983). According to Inwald (1992), the IPI was specifically designed “as an aid for assessing an individual’s suitability for a job in the public safety /law enforcement field” (p. 1). Like the MMPI, the IPI uses self-referenced statements or items (Inwald et al. , 1983) presented in booklet form.
Individuals administered the test, read each item then respond, that for them, the item is either “true” or “false. ” The test is machine scored and the results provided in a format “which groups responses according to scales” (p. 2). The IPI’s 310 items are distributed among 25 original scales and one validity scale “designed to measure behaviors, attitudes, and characteristics of various personality types. In addition, however, it documents combinations and patterns of historical life events which studies suggest correlate significantly with occupational failure in law enforcement” (p.
1). Inwald & Shusman, 1984a, 1984b; Shusman, 1987; Shusman, Inwald, & Knatz, 1987; Scogin et al. , 1995) have compared the relative predictive validity of the IPI and MMPI using numerous job performance criteria. The results found in those studies are remarkably consistent and suggest that the IPI and MMPI are measuring different personality dimensions. For example, Inwald and Shusman (1984a) compared the MMPI and IPI’s relative validity using nine performance criteria, including supervisor ratings.
Data was collected during a 6-month basic law enforcement training academy. Police recruits (N = 329) attending the training academy, and not police officers, served as subjects. Some performance criteria were (a) no injuries on the job compared to one or more injuries, (b) no disciplinary actions versus more than one disciplinary action, (c) less than three times late for work versus three or more times late for work, and (d) less then three times absent from work versus three or more times absent.
The authors did not report the results of the analysis using the MMPI alone and supervisor ratings as a criterion in a manner comparable to that used to report the IPI results (Table 1, p. 3). Therefore, the percentages and numbers correct and incorrect for the average to above average and well-below average trainees using the MMPI were not available. Several IPI scales and a few MMPI scales contributed significantly to predicting negative trainee behavior for each of the job performance criteria.
Overall, comparing the total accuracy of predicting each criteria using either the IPI or the MMPI, the authors concluded that the IPI was a more effective predictor than the MMPI in a law enforcement employment context. However, the authors also noted that when used together the IPI and MMPI scales frequently achieved a higher level of prediction accuracy than either the IPI or the MMPI alone (Inwald & Shusman, 1984a). In another study, Inwald and Shusman (1984b) compared gender differences in the job performance predictive accuracy of the IPI and the MMPI.
The data authors used was IPI and MMPI raw scale scores for 1,887 male and 520 female correction officer candidates. Analysis began by explaining that male and female candidates mean scale scores differed on 14 of 26 IPI scales and 4 of 13 MMPI scales. Compared to male correction officer candidates, female correction officer candidates had higher mean scores on 11 of the 14 IPI scales Compared to the female correction officer candidates, male correction officer candidates exhibited higher mean scores on the IPI scales for alcohol abuse (1.
90 vs. 1. 53), driving difficulties (2. 02 vs. 0. 76) and trouble with the law (3. 12 vs. 2. 19) (Inwald & Shusman, 1984b). Although differences were noted between male and female raw mean scale scores, a caveat is in order. Reviewing both the published article, that is, Inwald and Shusman (1984b), and its abstract in the revised test manual (Inwald, 1992), no express mention was found as to whether or not the differences were significant, and if so at what level?
Given the sample sizes one may possibly infer significance, but when raw scores are converted to T-scores the differences noted may be minimal or disappear altogether. In a later investigation, Shusman (1987) found additional evidence supporting, in part, the conclusions drawn from some earlier studies. The author conducted a redundancy analysis using data collected from 2,438 male correction officer applicants to examine whether or not, and to what degree, the IPI and MMPI overlapped in assessing various personality domains.
For this study, subjects were randomly divided into validation (n = 1,973) and cross-validation (n = 465) samples. Using a canonical variate analysis, the author found that the correlations between the IPI and the MMPI scales ranged from . 01 to . 64 suggesting some overlap, but also showing that the IPI and MMPI may measure different personality domains. Results of the redundancy analysis found, using the validation sample, that the MMPI variate explained approximately 24% of the variance in the IPI variate, while the IPI variate explained about 20% of the variance in the MMPI variate.
Further analysis, using the cross-validation sample, revealed that the MMPI variate explained about 17% of the variance in the IPI variate, while the IPI variate explained approximately 15% of the variance in the MMPI variate. The author noted that “one canonical variate was found both statistically significant and meaningful” (Shusman, 1987, p. 437). Ash et al. (1990) shows that many law enforcement agencies use personality tests like the DPI or the MMPI, alone, together, or with other written psychological tests, to select and screen police officer candidates.
Nevertheless, the evidence found in the literature shows that knowledgeable scholars often question the predictive validity of, and the rationale for using, psychological testing in a law enforcement employment context (Dwyer et al. , 1990). Law enforcement administrators, who are usually naive regarding issues like validity and the value of conceptual links between predictors and criteria, are cautioned by Inwald (1992), that they can place themselves, their agency, and the community they serve, in a precarious position legally if the predictive validity of a psychological test used for selection purposes cannot be shown empirically.
Barrick and Mount (1991) suggest that the disparity in research findings, regarding the use of personality as a predictor for job performance, is related, in part, to the lack of “a scientifically compelling taxonomy of personality traits” (Goldberg, 1993, p. 26). Barrick and Mount (1993) have credited the emergence of the five-factor model of personality, in part, for the growing interest in the validity of personality measures as job performance predictors. These authors state that evidence provided by meta-analytic study (Barrick & Mount, 1991) shows that some personality constructs consistently predict important job-related criteria.
For example, the most significant finding in the Barrick and Mount (1991) study was that the conscientiousness dimension “appears to tap traits which are important to the accomplishment of work tasks in all jobs” (p. 18) studied, including the job of police officer. NEO Personality Inventory NEO PI-R was developed by Costa and McCrae (1992), and its scales measure the “Big Five” personality domains of Neuroticism, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness and Openness to Experience. This five-factor model is valuable in assessing potential police recruits because it is predictive of police performance.
Barrick and Mount, (1991) used raters to categorize a large number of personality scales into dimensions of the five-factor model which were then correlated with measures of job proficiency. The NEO Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) is a 60-item measure of the personality domains of Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. The NEO-FFI is a shortened version of the NEO Personality Inventory Revised (NEO PI-R). The NEO-FFI asks respondents to indicate on a five-point scale the degree to which they agree or disagree with each statement.
Each of the five domains is a ratio level variable and was measured through twelve items. The twelve items of each domain also created six specific facets (Costa & McCrae, 1992). Results showed measures of police performance correlated significantly with four of the five factors (Openness was the exception). In particular, a high score on Conscientiousness was a consistently valid predictor of job performance for policemen, and Extraversion positively predicted training proficiency at police academies. Another study used rational judgments to locate representative MMPI scales for each of the five factors.
These scales were then correlated with measures of police candidates’ training performance. Results showed that the MMPI representations of Neuroticism, Conscientiousness, Extraversion and Openness (Costa & McCrae, 1992). Defensiveness, or socially desirable responding, is the tendency to answer test questions in a way that systematically misrepresents the respondent by presenting him or her in an unrealistically positive light and/or by denying psychological problems. Although many personality tests include scales to detect defensiveness, there is still controversy surrounding their use.
Costa and McCrae (1992), argue that defensiveness scales are unnecessary because 1) response distortion in the direction of social desirability is relatively uncommon, 2) most patients produce accurate self-reports even in situations where they have incentives to dissimulate, and 3) when social desirability scales are used to correct other scales (as is done with the MMPI-2’s K scale) such correction results in lowered correlations with external criterion measures (McCrae & Costa, 1987). Costa and McCrae believe that these findings indicate that social desirability scales measure a trait rather than a response bias (McCrae & Costa, 1987).
However, in contrast to those studies which indicate that the general population is unlikely to dissimulate, defensiveness is indeed a very common response set among job candidates, and especially among police candidates (Barrick and Mount, 1993). Also, unlike the MMPI-K scale, most validity scales that measure defensiveness are not used to correct or otherwise modify scale scores, but rather as indications of whether one can be confident that the test results are an accurate representation of the test-taker’s psychological functioning. Personality Assessment Inventory
The Personality Assessment Inventory developed by Morey (1991) is a multidimensional objective personality measure designed to assess psychological functioning across several different clinical domains. In addition to 11 clinical scales (most with subscales), it also contains 4 validity scales, 2 interpersonal scales, and 5 scales related to treatment and case management. Although it is a relatively new instrument, the PAI has generated considerable interest among psychologists, due in large part to the inventory’s general format and the rational-quantitative methods (Holden & Fekken, 1990) used to develop its scales.
The PAI contains two scales, Alcohol Problems (ALQ and Drag Problems (DRG) that are particularly relevant to the assessment of individuals who may misuse psychoactive substances. These scales are designed to measure the presence and severity of the core features of substance dependence (e. g. , withdrawal symptoms, loss of control over drinking) and consequences often associated with such use (e. g. , legal entanglements, interpersonal conflicts, family difficulties). Data presented in the PAI test manual indicate that the ALC and DRG scales have adequate reliability and validity (Morey, 1991).
A study conducted on the Effects of Information about Validity Scales on Underreporting of Symptoms on the Personality Assessment Inventory suggest that information about the underreporting scales enables respondents to obtain low clinical scale scores without elevating the underreporting scales. The findings are consistent with the growing literature on the effects of coaching, which has found that information about validity scales enables some test-takers to distort their test responses without detection (Rogers, Bagby, & Chakraborty, 1993).
The results are also consistent with those of (Baer & Wetter, 1997) in suggesting that the information about validity scales given to respondents need not be lengthy or detailed. A brief warning about the presence of scales designed to detect exaggeration of psychological adjustment appears to be sufficient. These results suggest that an important priority for future research is to explore whether any group of PAI items can discriminate coached under reporters from honest respondents (Baer & Wetter, 1997, p. 411).
Results of one study indicated personality test data are related to law enforcement personnel job performance, although this relation is modest, at best. Prediction of job performance using multiple predictors proved superior to prediction based on single predictors. California Psychological Inventory The California Psychological Inventory, developed by Gough (1975) emerged as the best predictor of law enforcement personnel performance, in comparison to the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) and the Inwald Personality Inventory (IPI).
Results of file drawer analyses indicate a substantial number of negative outcomes are necessary to nullify the findings pertaining to all personality tests, as well as studies using the MMPI. Less confidence, however, was placed in findings using the CPI and IPI individually (Varela, 2001). A study conducted on The California Psychological Inventory and police selection examined job performance in relation to the personality characteristics of 61 police officers (mean age 23 yrs) (Pugh, 1985). Subjects were administered the California Psychological Inventory when they were recruits, and their job performance was judged after 2 and 4.
5 yrs on the job. Results support the hypothesis that the predictability of police work to personality variables changes over time. Striving qualities of the capacity for status were good predictors of high performance at 2 yrs. After 4. 5 yrs, the best predictors were those that indicated a stable, responsible, and socially skilled individual. During the earlier phases of police work, it appears that the main focus of the job involves becoming a part of the police department (membership status), finding a good level of operation, and gaining the trust of the other officers.
As the new police officer stabilizes in his/her position, police work rather than simply fitting into the police department becomes focal, and maturity and responsibility become more important to job performance (Pugh, 1985). In a study of the CPI, Hargrave and Hiatt (1989) compared profiles of academy cadets who were rated by their supervisors as either suitable or unsuitable for police work. Nine scales differed significantly between the two groups. Similarly, Pugh (1985) examined the predictive validity of the CPI in classifying police recruits as “low,” “average,” or “high” performers after 2 and 4 1/2 years of employment.
Discriminant functions derived from CPI profiles resulted in correct classification of 61. 2% of the subjects both at a 2 and a 4 1/2 year follow-up. An evaluation of the usefulness of objective measures of personality in the identification of referred police officers, in need of an employee assistance program (EAP) and the evaluation of employee mental health change as a result of EAP participation. EAP referred and non-referred employees were compared based upon race, sex, age, and performance variables.
MMPI-2, California Psychological Inventory (CPI), and Science Research Associates-Verbal Form (SRA) test data from all or part of a sample of 376 police officers referred for fitness for duty evaluations were used in various analyses. It was found that the MMPI-2 has the potential utility in both the identification and evaluation stages of the EAP process; the CPI and SRA tests proved less useful. Additionally, males and Black employees were found more likely to be referred to an EAP, with referred employee performance being more than . 6 standard deviations lower than that of non-referred employees (Schmit and Stanard, 1996).
Conclusion This study has addressed and outlined the field of police psychology, including the importance of personality assessment inventory for the law enforcement agencies. In addition, this paper explored the use of various personality assessment inventories in law enforcement officer evaluations, and their use to assess law enforcement officers. The relevant personality inventories have been contrasted and compared in this study, to assess their correlation among the variables assessed with their measurements, along with the subject variables.
This study can make a positive contribution to the field of police psychology in the area of personality evaluations. Psychological testing is the major component of law enforcement system. Testing is critical to the process in order to lend objectivity, comprehensiveness, and defensibility to the process. These tests can measure ability in a range of different areas and provide an insight into employees’ personalities and work styles. Identifying if one objective personality test is a better predictor of a law enforcement officer’s “fitness” will aid psychologists in making a final determination of fitness. References Ash, P.
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