William U. Weiss

Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, United States

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Publications (15)1.76 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The present study investigated the use of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)-2 L (Lie) scale in the preemployment selection of police officers. In a prior article, Weiss, Davis, Rostow, and Kinsman (2003) found that high L scale scores are associated with a number of performance problems in law enforcement officers. These investigators recommended a L scale raw score cutoff of 8 when making hiring decisions. The present study sought to explore the usefulness of this recommendation by analyzing data from 4348 officers who had taken the MMPI-2 as a condition of preemployment and had follow-up data on performance provided by their supervisors. Results indicated that officers with L scale raw scores of 8 or higher had significantly more performance problems than those who had scores of 7 or below. Similar results were obtained when cut points of 7 and 9 were used. These results were robust insofar as they remained significant when other factors potentially related to the L scale, particularly level of education, ethnicity, and scores on the 10 MMPI-2 Clinical Scales, were controlled for in the analyses. Implications of these findings for police psychological evaluations are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
    Psychological Services 07/2012; · 1.08 Impact Factor
  • Peter A. Weiss, Katherine J. Bell, William U. Weiss
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of the present study was to assess the effects of criminal malingering on the MMPI-2 Restructured Clinical (RC) scales. Sixty undergraduate students were given the MMPI-2 twice. One administration was conducted according to the MMPI-2 manual, and the other was given with a special set of malingering instructions specific to a prison setting. The two MMPI-2 profiles for each participant were scored for both the Basic and RC scales. Eight participants were eliminated from the data analysis due to validity (VRIN or TRIN) concerns. Data from the remaining 52 participants were analyzed using a 2 × 2 repeated measures ANOVA. Results showed that, as expected, the participants achieved higher MMPI-2 scores in the malingering condition. Also, participants achieved higher scores overall on the Basic scales and a significant interaction showed that participants achieved higher scores on the Basic Scales in the malingering condition than on the RC scales in that condition. These results supported prior research, indicating that malingerers produce elevated RC profiles. However, the present results also suggest that the Basic scales may be more effective in actually detecting malingerers, mainly due to the much lower ceiling on the RC scaled scores. Further implications of these findings for research and clinical work are also discussed. KeywordsMMPI-2-RC Scales-Malingering-Faking bad
    Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology 01/2010; 25(1):49-55.
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    ABSTRACT: It is well documented that candidates in employment situations attempt to present overly positive pictures of themselves that may be inaccurate. Police officer candidacy situations are not an exception. They are more critical to the public welfare, however, because of the sensitive nature of police officers as an interface between government and the community. For this reason, the study of impression management using devices that are employed in police selection is of great importance. This study used 36 college students to whom the MMPI-2 was administered, first under standard conditions (control condition) in which the students responded as they ordinarily would and second, under a set of special instructions (experimental condition) which instructed them to respond as if they were police officer candidates. The two profiles were compared. As hypothesized, the Lie (L) and Correction (K) scales were elevated in the experimental condition. An inspection of the clinical scales revealed that all tended to be lower in the experimental condition than in the control condition, with the exception of Masculinity-Femininity (Mf), Psychopathic Deviate (Pd), Paranoia (Pa), and Hypomania (Ma). Implications of these findings for officer candidate selection are discussed.
    Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology 01/2009; 24(2):120-125.
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies have established the utility of self-report personality inventories in the pre-employment screening of police officers. The present study therefore sought to explore the relationship between the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) Borderline, Drug, and Alcohol Scales and performance as a police officer. The PAI results of 632 police officers who took the test as part of pre-employment screening procedures were used in discriminant function and multiple regression analyses to determine whether or not these scales are useful in the pre-employment screening of police officers. These scales did not predict performance as a police officer when the entire sample of 632 was used. However, the Borderline Negative Relations subscale combined with the Drug scale of the PAI were marginally predictive of the 132 poorest performing officers in the sample when an exploratory stepwise multiple regression model was used. The implications of these findings for police selection are discussed.
    Policing and Society 01/2008; 18(3):301-310. · 0.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A relative newcomer to personality assessment in the area of law enforcement is the Personality Assessment Inventory, or PAI. Earlier MMPI research in the area of police selection has focused upon antisocial behavior, control of aggression, and validity indices, particularly the L scale. In this study T scores for 800 male and female police officer candidates on the PAI scales Negative Impression (NIM), Positive Impression (PIM), Antisocial-Antisocial Behaviors (ANTA), Antisocial-Egocentricity (ANTE), and Antisocial-Stimulus Seeking (ANTS) were used as predictors of the criterion variables Insubordination, Excessive Citizen Complaints, and Neglect of Duty. Highly significant coefficients were obtained for ANTE as a predictor of Insubordination and Excessive Citizen Complaints. For Neglect of Duty, two significant coefficients were obtained, one for ANTS and another for NIM. Discussion centered on the fact that egocentricity is a predictor of Insubordination and Excessive Citizen Complaints, and Neglect of Duty is related to stimulus seeking.
    Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology 01/2005; 20(1):16-21.
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    ABSTRACT: The Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) is a recent development in psychological assessment which has attracted attention because of the breadth of its coverage and the fact that it includes a four-point scale of item agreement. Matrix, Incorporated, is a psychological assessment center that specializes in the assessment of law enforcement personnel. Matrix has collected performance variables on 800 police officers who had taken the PAI prior to being hired. Correlational analysis was performed and there was a significant effect in the data. Discussion focuses upon the criteria in relation to the PAI variables, particularly with regard to aggression, antisocial characteristics and the validity scales. The data clearly demonstrate that the PAI has good potential for the selection of law enforcement officers.
    Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology 05/2004; 19(2):23-29.
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    ABSTRACT: As a general rule, pathologies tend to impair job performance. In a study involving performance criteria and the Personality Assessment Inventory in a sample of Louisiana police officers (N=800), OCD characteristics correlated significantly in a negative direction with several performance criteria, such as involvement in an on-duty or off-duty at fault moving violation, number of on-duty or off-duty at fault moving violations, any citizen complaints regarding unprofessional conduct, number of unprofessional conduct, and accusation in any way of racially offensive conduct, behavior, verbalization, or complaints. It has been found that the traits of obsessive-compulsive disorder, in moderation, may actually improve performance in police officers. This agrees with the Yerkes-Dodson law, which states that peak performance occurs when a person experiences mild to moderate levels of stress.
    Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology 01/2004; 19(2):64-71.
  • William U. Weiss, Robert Davis, Cary Rostow, Sarah Kinsman
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    ABSTRACT: The MMPI has been used extensively in the selection of law enforcement personnel. Because police officer candidates have been preselected, however, individuals with obvious mental disturbance have been screened out of the candidate pool before evaluation. It is necessary to search for more subtle variables to serve as predictors of unsatisfactory future performance. The L scale is a subtle variable which can suggest potential for problematic behavior. The value of the L scale in the selection process is discussed.
    Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology 02/2003; 18(1):57-60.
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    ABSTRACT: Research has demonstrated the utility of the MMPI-2 in identifying good and poor performance, dissatisfaction, termination, low performance ratings, unsatisfactory and satisfactory criterion groups, problematic behavior, corruption, and aggression. There is much research to suggest that certain patterns of responding to this measure by officer applicants predict job performance behaviors that supervisors and police executives view unfavorably. This study illustrates the fact that variables which are likely to predict police performance are less obvious and more subtle. Discussion centers on repression and underlying hostility.
    Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology 02/2001; 16(1):51-55.
  • William U. Weiss, Gerald Serafino, Ann Serafino
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    ABSTRACT: Validity scale data have received attention recently as providing valuable information about potential problematic police officer candidates. In this study, validity scale data from a number of selection instruments were obtained using 42 state police officer candidates. The scale used were the MMPI-2 L scale, the MMPI-2 K scale, the PAI Positive Impression Scale (PIM), the PAI Defensiveness Index (DI), the IPI Guardedness scale, the Hilson Life Adjustment Profile Lack of Candor scale, and the Inwald Survey 2 Denial of Shortcomings scale. Intercorrelations among the scales were developed and a factor analysis was performed. Factor analysis revealed two factors to be present. One is associated with the Hilson scales and is appropriately named guardedness or defensiveness. The other is associated with the MMPI-2 K scale and the PAI scales and is appropriately named social desirability. The MMPI-2 L scale loaded significantly on both factors and seemed to be the most general of the validity scales in terms of its characteristics. Implications of these analyses for police selection are discussed.
    Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology 02/2000; 15(1):41-44.
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    ABSTRACT: The MMPI-2 and the Inwald Personality Inventory were employed to investigate the personality characteristics of dropouts from a state police academy. A traditional model of training borrowed from military models was used at the academy rather than a police generated model. Sensitive and independent individuals, more compatible with modern community policing methods may have rejected police work as a result of the experience. 15 academy completers and 9 dropouts were used in the sample. Analyses of the scales of the MMPI-2 and the Inwald Personality Inventory identified variables upon which the two groups differed. The hypothesis that more sensitive, empathic and independent individuals were leaving the academy appeared to be supported.
    Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology 01/1999; 14(1):38-42.
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    ABSTRACT: The MMPI-2 is one of the most frequently employed instruments for the selection of police officers. Serafino and Serafino (1997) collected data which involved information about employment continuation and ratings by supervisors of 32 police officers who had recently been hired and who had been given the MMPI-2 during the hiring process. In this study, the Paranoia Obvious (Pa) and Paranoia Subtle (Ps) scales proved to be the significant. Pa Subtle correlated with removal whereas Pa Obvious correlated with rating. Higher scores on Pa Subtle correlated significantly with being removed from the job, whereas low scores on the Pa Obvious correlated with higher ratings of performance by supervisors. Discussion of the results involved the fact that Subtle Pa scores would suggest paranoid tendencies not easily detected during the interview. Since most high Pa Obvious individuals would have been eliminated in the hiring process, expression of this tendency was at a low level after being hired but if present resulted in low ratings. Significant predictors were noted to be very much a function of the type of criterion variable employed in the study.
    Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology 01/1998; 13(1):40-44.
  • William U. Weiss, Kevin Buehler, David Yates
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    ABSTRACT: The Psychopathic Deviate (Pd) Scale of the MMPI is often used by police departments in police selection. Unfortunately very little research data exists to substantiate the power of the Pd scale in police selection. In this study, self-ratings of satisfaction and performance of police officers were assessed using the Zytowski Personal Data Questionnaire. The Pd scale showed promise but the correlation between Pd and rated satisfaction was non-significant. When the scale was divided into Pd Obvious and Pd Subtle and correlated with satisfaction, a significant correlation between Pd Subtle and rated satisfaction emerged. When male officers alone were assessed, the results were even more significant. Included in the Pd Subtle are less transparent items which is a partial explanation of the results. For males, the Pd2 Authority Problems scale correlated significantly with both satisfaction and performance. The promise of the Pd Subtle as well as the Pd2 scales need to be investigated further.
    Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology 11/1995; 10(4):57-60.
  • William U. Weiss, David Yates, Kevin Buehler
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    ABSTRACT: A sample of 77 police officers who had been members of the Evansville, Indiana Police Department for at least two years had been given the Kuder Occupational Interest Inventory prior to being hired. Each was given the Zytowski Personal Data Questionnaire to obtain self-ratings of satisfaction and duty performance. A high percentage (81%) of the officers who had been hired and whose careers had continued in police work had Police Officer as one of their top ten occupations on the Kuder Interest Inventory. The Kuder was less successful at predicting satisfaction and performance. These data supported the concept that stress and burnout were more important predictors of satisfaction and duty performance than were interests.
    Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology 01/1995; 10(4):53-56.
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    ABSTRACT: The Body Mass Index (BMI) was created in order to classify individuals into body weight categories ranging from below normal to very obese, depending on the individual’s weight and height. The Body Mass Index has been identified as a marker for psychological issues such as self-control, self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. This study used a data matrix composed of a sample of 2,506 police officer candidates. The BMI’s were calculated and correlated with 343 personality variables, including the MMPI-II and the Personality Assessment Index. The results indicated a total of 87 significant correlations, 20 at the .05 level and 67 at the .01 level. Despite the fact that many of the correlations were small, the large number of correlations indicates a significant relationship between BMI’s and individuals with problematic psychological and personality characteristics. Discussion centers upon explanations of the relationship between the Body Mass Index and various psychological concepts.
    Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology 21(1):54-61.