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A critical review of psychological instruments used in police officer selection

Lough, Jonathan and Von Treuer, Kathryn 2013, A critical review of psychological instruments used in police officer selection, Policing, vol. 36, no. 4, pp. 737-751, doi: 10.1108/PIJPSM-11-2012-0104.

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Title A critical review of psychological instruments used in police officer selection
Author(s) Lough, Jonathan
Von Treuer, Kathryn
Journal name Policing
Volume number 36
Issue number 4
Start page 737
End page 751
Total pages 15
Publisher Emerald Group Publishing
Place of publication Bingley, UK
Publication date 2013
ISSN 1363-951X
1758-695X
Keyword(s) Management
Validity
Screening
Psychology
Selection
Summary Purpose
The purpose of this paper is to critically examine the instruments used in the screening process, with particular attention given to supporting research validation. Psychological screening is a well-established process used in the selection of employees across public safety industries, particularly in police settings. Screening in and screening out are both possible, with screening out being the most commonly used method. Little attention, however, has been given to evaluating the comparative validities of the instruments used.

Design/methodology/approach
This review investigates literature supporting the use of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), the California Personality Inventory (CPI), the Inwald Personality Inventory (IPI), the Australian Institute of Forensic Psychology's test battery (AIFP), and some other less researched tests. Research supporting the validity of each test is discussed.

Findings
It was found that no test possesses unequivocal research support, although the CPI and AIFP tests show promise. Most formal research into the validity of the instruments lacks appropriate experimental structure and is therefore less powerful as “evidence” of the utility of the instrument(s).

Practical implications
This research raises the notion that many current screening practices are likely to be adding minimal value to the selection process by way of using instruments that are not “cut out” for the job. This has implications for policy and practice at the recruitment stage of police employment.

Originality/value
This research provides a critical overview of the instruments and their validity studies rather than examining the general process of psychological screening. As such, it is useful to those working in selection who are facing the choice of psychological instrument. Possibilities for future research are presented, and development opportunities for a best practice instrument are discussed.
Language eng
DOI 10.1108/PIJPSM-11-2012-0104
Field of Research 170107 Industrial and Organisational Psychology
Socio Economic Objective 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2013, Emerald Group Publishing
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30059560

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Psychology
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Created: Fri, 17 Jan 2014, 08:04:32 EST by Barb Lavelle

Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.