Personality Psychological Test Hypothetical Case Assessment

19 May No Comments
Personality TestingPS 505-1

Personality Testing

Hypothetical Case

Mark is a 32 year old white male who is married with two children. He got his undergraduate degree and soon got employment in a marketing firm where he earns an above average income. Mark has often been suspended from work and he is on the verge of getting fired because he is always violating company rules and portrays impulsive behavior, irresponsibility and disregards the safety of others and even himself. He has used company resources for his own gain and has lied to clients in his line of marketing by manipulating them into buying company products. When confronted about it, he shows no signs of remorse rather, he becomes highly irritable and aggressive to fellow colleagues. He once got into a bar fight with a colleague who tried to talk to him about his behavior out of concern.

Appropriate Instrument for Personality Testing

The appropriate instrument to assess Mark as a client would be the Psych Central Personality Disorder Test that can be retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/personality-disorders-test/start.php. One strength of this test is that it is based on the Diagnostic % Statistical Mental fifth edition (DSM-V) of mental disorders. This personality test helps to examine the agreement with the symptoms that are associated with the ten recognized personality disorders (Porter & Hales, 2015). The test is appropriate as it measures the dysfunctional behavior which is symptomatic and is more of a major concern such as a personality disorder.

According to the description of Mark’s behavior, the DSM-5 diagnostic criterion A shows that he could be suffering from antisocial personality disorder. According to this tool, APD is a diagnosis given to people who are habitually and pervasively disregarding or violating the safety and rights of others and they do not have any remorse. To fulfill the four criteria for the diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder using the DSM-V tool, there is data required to. The first criterion states that the individual has total disregard for and violates the rights of others since the age of 15 and this is fulfilled by seven sub-features (Porter & Hales, 2015). Mark appears to fulfill most of these sub-features as he is impulsive, aggressive and irresponsible, fails to obey company policies and is remorseless. The second criterion requires the person to be at least 18years old and Mark is 32.

The Psych Central Personality Disorder Test has its own shortcomings in that it follows the DSM-V diagnostic criteria which in itself has its own limitations. For instance, there usually a very high degree of co-occurrence or overlap of the ten personality disorders as well as with other mental disorders. Besides this, the description of symptoms is quite broad as the DSM does not account for the importance of some symptoms. Therefore, clients who have been diagnosed with the same disorder could have clinical presentations that are very different. Another limitation is that the DSM-5 uses a categorical approach of diagnosing personality disorders which has had numerous problems unlike the dimensional approach (Porter & Hales, 2015).

Workplace Setting Issues

People with antisocial personality disorders establish themselves as the workplace delinquents. They are deceitful, aggressive, impulsive, irresponsible, reckless and remorseless. Michalak & Ashkanasy (2018) report that these individuals are known to lie, cheat, manipulate others and break the rules and policies set in the workplace. Coworkers with antisocial personality disorder are users in the workplace and have no regard for the rights and feelings of others. They have no qualms when taking advantage of other people and can bleed them dry of their money, energy and time leaving them burnt out. Their traits wreak havoc in the workplace and while these behaviors are destructive, their occurrence undermine the overall workplace morale. The apparent lack of remorse and guilt about hurting others can be very destructive. Their manipulations, conning, lying and deceitfulness is hidden at first and then earnestly denied (Michalak & Ashkanasy, 2018).

Professional Competencies

While administering the test, the professional needs to use one that is based on the accepted standards of test use. The user of the test needs to ensure that the scores being represented and reported are part of a formal psychometric assessment. For instance, the test should be valid for the intention from which it is being administered and should have sufficient details on the properties of scores being derived from the test. Besides this, the administrator of the test needs to ensure that they adhere by the security and privacy guidelines of the profession. For example, the test materials need to be stored and only accessed in accordance with the set requirements for administration, scoring as well as interpretation. The policies for storage should be such that there are no compromises to the purposes of the test and there should be introduction of errors. The administrator needs to respect the diverse cultural and religious factors of the client and should not violate them. When administering the test, the professional need to ensure that no harm either psychological, physical or emotional befalls the client.

Purpose of Pre-employment Integrity Testing

Before hiring a new candidate for a job vacancy, most organizations screen and evaluate their applicants using psychological assessment tools. The tools measure different competencies from personality traits, mental skills and abilities. Organizations choose to administer integrity tests primarily when they are interested in assessing the honesty of their candidates. These are tests that are intended to filter out the high-risk candidates so as to reduce the incidences of counter-productive behaviors in the work place. Fine (2013) states that they also help in mitigating occupational offenses such as violence, drug use, theft, fraud and drug use. The integrity tests could include items that are posed as direct questions to the job candidates in relation to their attitudes towards various counterproductive work behaviors and other specific occupational offenses.

Those applicants who tend to identify with counterproductive behaviors seem to believe that these behaviors are justifiable and pervasive. They are often lenient towards the perpetrators and could have been involved in these behaviors. These individuals are predicted to have a greater propensity towards indulging in such counterproductive behaviors in the future. For instance, there could be a prototypical item in the integrity test with the statement “most workers will lie to their employers at least once” Fine (2013). The applicant’s disagreement or agreement with this statement is indicative of their pervasiveness to employee dishonesty. Past research has shown that integrity tests are essential predictors of CWB in various work settings and they have been used to reduce counterproductive work behaviors when used during the hiring process.

Differences between Overt and Personality-based Integrity Tests

The main difference between these two tests is that the overt test measures the admissions and opinions of the applicant towards the directly presented counterproductive behaviors. On the other hand, personality-based tests usually measure the personal traits of the candidate that are inferentially associated with the counterproductive behaviors (Fine, 2013). The overt tests usually asks the subject directly questions regarding their criminal behaviors, honesty and their attitudes towards drug abuse. This test is usually designed to screen out the undesirable traits in a person’s past crimes, behavior and dishonesty so as to sort out the potential candidates.

The overt tests are often split into two categories. The first one contains a series of questions that are used to assess he person’s attitude towards counterproductive behaviors, their beliefs on the frequency of these behaviors, punishment and an assessment of the individual’s honesty. This section also assesses the subject’s trustworthiness in the workplace (Fine, Goldenberg & Noam, 2016). A typical question could ask if the subject believes that everyone can be dishonest or it could ask how honest the subject thinks they are. The second category asks the candidate the amount of counter-productive behavior they have ever engaged in with their past employers and in other settings. A typical question for this part could ask if the test taker has ever thought about engaging in fraud or what amount they have ever stolen from former employers.

A personality-oriented integrity test can on the other hand can be used by the employer when they want to assess the personality traits that are associated with counterproductive behaviors. The items will assess social conformity, dependability, conscientiousness and thrill seeking. For instance, the section could have an item asking the subject whether they are more sensible or adventurous. A personality-oriented integrity test can be appropriate if the organization wants to assess employee deviance, dependability, conscientiousness and self-restraint among other relevant traits (Fine, Goldenberg & Noam, 2016).

When to administer the Tests

According to Fine (2013), it may be more realistic for a security organization would use overt tests when selecting security personnel due to the context-specific and directness of the items on the overt test. This can be very helpful in corroborating information from other sources and can also serve as a basis for reference checks or interviews. On the other hand, a human resource specialist may get a personality-based integrity test because it will describe the applicant in terms of their behavioral tendencies and personality trait. An employer may also go for this test especially because it is perceived to be less prone to manipulating or faking. Faking is a key deterrent for overt tests even if the effects of faking the integrity test validities could actually be negligible.

On fairness and the adverse impact of integrity tests, the author advises that it is imperative to keep the clear records of the subjects’ demographics ranging from race, gender and age so as to ensure that the percentage of those who have been hired is proportionate to each group. Generally, the author states that integrity tests are perceived to be typically fair and are not discriminatory in various settings. Therefore, even if this is not a matter of concern for integrity tests, there needs to be careful monitoring nonetheless (Fine, 2013).

Objective and Projective Personality Tests

Objective personality tests are those instruments where the stimulus us an adjective, a question or a proposition presented to a subject who is supposed to show how accurately it describes their personality using a few response options such as true or false and yes or no. This test is found to be objective because the person administering it does not have to use their judgment in interpreting or classifying the subject’s responses. Rather, the response is indicated and scored as per the already existing index. Projective personality tests on the other hand are those instruments where the stimulus s an activity or task presented to the test-taker who is supposed to come up with a response using minimal constraints or external guidance. The requirement to come up with a response in an ambiguous response is projective as by doing so, the subject is putting forward or projecting elements of their personal traits. Meyer & Kurtz (2006) report that it was established more than half a century ago that the processes that influence a subject’s responses comprise of the ambiguity in the items, limitations in self-perception or self-knowledge, projections and self-dynamics.

Problems Associated with the Classifications

The terms projective and objective tend to carry several and unclear definitions and there are some misleading connotations when the terms are used in personality testing. For example, generally, the word objective refers to precision and accuracy which is impervious to bias. These are positive and desirable connotations which are not completely warranted for the inventories they refer. Also, those labelled objective will be viewed positively due to this positive connotation. Those that are not labelled as objective will be viewed less positively as they are not “objective”. Similarly, the connotations of the word projective do not always apply in instruments labelled as projective. The same issues arise when considering the definition of the word projective. Another concern is that there are possible scoring errors (Meyer & Kurtz, 2006).

State Laws on Assessment and Testing

Test Publishers’ Monitoring Competencies

Test publishing companies have designated various levels for monitoring the competencies of those who purchase and administer assessment tools. Naugle (2009) gives us an example of the Psychological Corporation which has four levels of competencies for agencies, organizations and individuals who are interested in buying the tests/ they are Levels A, B, C and Q. Level A require no qualifications for purchase. For Level B purchases, a master’s degree in education or psychology, the right training in assessment or membership to a professional association that needs assessment training is required. For Level C, the qualifications comprise of a doctorate in education or psychology, the right training in assessment or validation of licensure or certification that calls for the professional to have the right experience and training in counselling assessment. Lastly, level Q qualifications specify having a background that is relative to the testing purchase and training in ethical use, administration as well as interpretation of tests (Naugle, 2009). All qualifications for all levels have to be fulfilled and a professional attesting to have undergone assessment training.

Assessment Information on Alabama State Laws and Legislation

The state of Alabama has set state laws and legislations that describe the type of assessment activities a counselor should engage in. To begin with, Alabama law specifies the assessment, appraisal and testing in definition and in scope of practice. Further, it specifies the types that a counselor can administer and specifies those that cannot be administered. Lastly, it includes assessment as one of the key areas that require educational qualifications for the professional counselors. Alabama do not allow assessment and testing using projective strategies for personality assessment (Naugle, 2009).

Discrimination against Professionals without Licensure

Naugle (2009) feels that the increasing administrative restrictions are threatening the job welfare of professionals such as school psychologists who are not yet licensed yet as psychologists. The author presents evidence from an article relating to school psychologists which reported that assessment is the primary contribution that gets people into school and keeps them there and further allows them to expand into other roles. School counselors are known to be responsible for six main jobs namely: pupil assessment, counseling, information officer, consultation, research, school program facilitator and evaluation. Among these, pupil assessment, the use of basic research and program evaluation are all associated with assessment. It was also found that the skills needed by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, if at all they were applied in the right way and assessed by the program that was delivering them accordingly, prepares the a beginning school counselor to fulfill all the job expectations. Additionally, the American Counselling Association and the Association for Assessment in Counselling has formulated a list of the required competencies that school counselors have to meet in evaluation and assessment.

Hiring Practices and Challenges with Personality Testing

Industrial Psychologists rejecting Personality Tests

In the past, industrial psychologists have rejected the use of the personality tests as they believed that the process was invalid and unreliable. As a matter of fact, there is a classic text on personnel testing that dedicates an entire chapter to the problems that arise from using personality testing. It is reported that most of the traditional researchers on personality assessment discovered low reliability and validity coefficients. There are also literature reviews that date back to 1960 that second these shortcomings and they led to a break away from personality assessment selectively (Scroggins, Thomas, & Morris, 2008). This notwithstanding, most human resource managers have continued using the personality tests with an enduring and optimistic faith that they assist in differentiating between the poor and the good job applicants.

Military Psychology and Role of Psychological Services in World War II

During World War II, psychological services and military psychology were firmly developed as an important aspect to the country’s defense efforts. During the early 1940s, military psychologists were able to assess and validate the various strategies of classifying and training, as well as making major strides in the analysis of human factors in the operation and designing instruments and equipment, training technology, testing, job performance as well as adaptation to different environments. In 1946, the Division of Military Psychology was established by the American Psychological Association in order to create a forum for conducting military research and to also advance psychology in military. The psychological tests were able to find as well as predict merit in the personnel (Scroggins, Thomas, & Morris, 2008).

Controversies surrounding Personality Testing

Unlike the cognitive tests, there is prevailing notion that personality testing used in selection and hiring lacks validity, that they can be faked with ease and that these tests are not appropriate for pre-employment screening. Some researchers have made the conclusions that the low validities of the personality tests and the issue of faking it make it very difficult to recommend personality tests as an instrument to be used in employment selection. Most of the issues in personality measures come from historical controversies on the importance of personality, its meaning, the descriptions as well as the measures of personality traits (Scroggins, Thomas, & Morris, 2008). They also stem from how personality traits interact with behavior and with one another. Before the development of the Big Five Personality models, there was a lack of a general consensus on the dimensions of personality.

Besides this, the use of personality tests in employment selection has been a source of controversy in the past for many reasons. Historical reviews of research on the validity of personality testing has concluded in a pessimistic fashion that personality testing has very little if any utility (Scroggins, Thomas, & Morris, 2008). This is despite the fact that personality testing is very useful in selection as personality influences performance, besides this, studies have that there is a general agreement in the sets of personality characteristics that are widely possessed by the effective managers.

References

Fine, S. (2013). Practical guidelines for implementing pre-employment integrity tests. Public Personnel Management, 42(2), 281-292. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.libauth.purdueglobal.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=88923808&site=eds-live

Fine, S., Goldenberg, J., & Noam, Y. (2016). Integrity testing and the prediction of counterproductive behaviours in the military. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology89(1), 198-218.

Meyer, G. J., & Kurtz, J. E. (2006). Advancing personality assessment terminology: Time to retire objective and projective as personality test descriptors. Journal of Personality Assessment, 87(3), 223-225. Retrieved from
http://search.ebscohost.com.libauth.purdueglobal.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mdc&AN=17134328&site=eds-live

Michalak, R. T., & Ashkanasy, N. M. (2018). Working with monsters: counting the costs of workplace psychopaths and other toxic employees. Accounting & Finance.

Naugle, K. (2009). Counseling and testing: What counselors need to know about state laws on assessment and testing? Measurement & Evaluation in Counseling & Development, 42(1), 31-45. Retrieved from
http://search.ebscohost.com.libauth.purdueglobal.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=tfh&AN=43205692&site=eds-live

Porter, K., & Hales, I. (2015). DSM-V Revisions and the Interpretation of Measurable Traits versus the Diagnoses of Personality Disorders.

Scroggins, W., Thomas, S., & Morris, J. (2008). Psychological testing in personnel selection, part I: A century of psychological testing. Public Personnel Management, 37(1), 99-109. Retrieved from
http://search.ebscohost.com.libauth.purdueglobal.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=31579029&site=eds-live




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