Excel At Life logo
×



Contents

PsychArticles button PsychNotes button PsychApps button PsychAudios button PsychTests button About button
Support Excel At Life's Mission!
Follow
Help Translate
Spread the Word
Make Contribution
Become a fan on Facebook! Follow on twitter for site updates! Follow on Google+ for site updates!
Excel At Life--Dedicated to the Pursuit of Excellence in Life, Relationships, Sports and Career





CBT

Jealousy

Depression

Relationships

Conflict

Self-efficacy

Happiness

Goal-setting

Motivation

Wellness

Sport Psych



POPULAR ARTICLES

Crazy-Makers: Dealing with Passive-Aggressive People

Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

When You Have Been Betrayed

Struggling to Forgive: An Inability to Grieve

Happy Habits: 50 Suggestions

The Secret of Happiness: Let It Find You (But Make the Effort)

Excellence vs. Perfection

Depression is Not Sadness

Conflict in the Workplace

Motivation: Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic

20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem

7 Rules and 8 Methods for Responding to Passive-aggressive People

Promoting Healthy Behavior Change

10 Common Errors in CBT

What to Do When Your Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Marriage

Rejection Sensitivity, Irrational Jealousy and Impact on Relationships

For Women Only: How to Have the Relationship of Your Dreams

What to Do When Your Partner's Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Relationship

Making Attributions for a Healthier Attitude

Happiness is An Attitude

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Guide to How to Set Achieveable Goals

The Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Co-Dependency: An Issue of Control

The Pillars of the Self-Concept: Self-Esteem and Self-Efficacy

Catastrophe? Or Inconvenience?

POPULAR AUDIOS

Panic Assistance

Motivational Audios

Mindfulness Training

Rational Thinking

Relaxation for Children

Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

Loving Kindness Meditation

Self-Esteem Exercise

Meadow Relaxation

Rainy Autumn Morning

Energizing Audios

Quick Stress Relief

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Choosing Happiness

Lotus Flower Relaxation

Audio Version of Article: Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People

Audio Version of Article: Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

Audio Version of Article: Happiness Is An Attitude

All Audio Articles





Kindle Books by Dr. Monica Frank





RECENT ARTICLES

Why You Get Anxious When You Don't Want To

Why People Feel Grief at the Loss of an Abusive Spouse or Parent

“Are You Depressed?”: Understanding Diagnosis and Treatment

15 Coping Statements for Panic and Anxiety

Beyond Tolerating Emotions: Becoming Comfortable with Discomfort

Emotion Training: What is it and How Does it Work?

How You Can Be More Resistant to Workplace Bullying

Are You Passive Aggressive and Want to Change?

When Your Loved One Refuses Help

The Porcupine Effect: Pushing Others Away When You Want to Connect

What if You Considered Other Peoples' Views?

5 Common Microaggressions Against Those With Mental Illness

What to Expect from Mindfulness-based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (MCBT) When You Have Depression and Anxiety

Does Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Lack Compassion? It Depends Upon the Therapist

When Needs Come Into Conflict

What to Do When Anger Hurts Those You Love

A Brief Primer On the Biology of Stress and How CBT Can Help

50 Tools for Panic and Anxiety

Coping With Change: Psychological Flexibility

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Ending a Bad Relationship

I'm Depressed. I'm Overwhelmed. Where Do I Start?



NEW AUDIOS

Building Blocks Emotion Training

Hot Springs Relaxation

5 Methods to Managing Anger

Panic Assistance While Driving

Autogenic Relaxation Training

Rainbow Sandbox Mindfulness

Mindfulness Training

Riding a Horse Across the Plains

Cityscape Mindfulness

Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

The Great Desert Mindfulness

Tropical Garden Mindfulness

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Probability and OCD

Choosing Happiness

Magic Bubbles for Children

Lotus Flower Relaxation

Cloud Castles for Children

Hot Air Balloon Motivation

All Audio Articles

Personality Testing in Sports: Should We or Shouldn't We?

by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.
"If sports teams found that athletes with serious mental disorders, drug problems, or criminal tendencies are a detriment to the team, they may find that using personality testing...can be helpful."
print

Personality testing has been used for many decades by industrial/organizational (I/O) psychologists to select appropriate candidates to fill certain job positions. In particular, police departments and fire departments often require personality testing of applicants. Even many seminaries require testing of students desiring to become ministers or priests. More recently, some professional sports teams are using personality testing to help select from the draft choices. Is this a good idea and what kind of problems can we expect in this process?

The history of personality testing for job applicants and students has been rife with controversy due to the many problems inherent in the process of personality testing. We can expect many of the same problems to occur when sport professionals use personality testing to select athletes. Such problems that generally occur in using personality testing in the selection process include the difficulty of defining personality variables, issues relating to the validity of tests and lack of predictive research, and the number of incorrect predictions. In addition, selection of athletes may involve other issues including the use of tests designed for other purposes, the application of the Profile of Mood States and the “iceberg profile” to personality, the importance of personality testing relative to physical skills, and increased predictive validity problems.

Prior to using personality testing for selection purposes, we need to be aware of what we mean by personality and how it relates to performance. Generally, personality is considered traits or characteristics that describe an individual which are not readily changeable. Therefore, sadness is considered a mood state that is temporary whereas negativity may be seen as a personality characteristic. One major problem with the definition of personality is the idea that it is unchangeable because many of the descriptors we use to describe others are often quite changeable; even the example of “negativity” used previously can be changed either due to circumstances or effort. Given the difficulty in developing an agreed upon definition of personality, it is even more difficult to measure the construct of personality since measurement requires operational, or concrete, definitions. This leads to problems with test validity.

To understand the problems the validity problems in using personality testing for selection, it is important to understand the nature of validity and, in particular, its application to personality assessment. Validity is whether a test is measuring what it intends to measure. For instance, “honesty” tests are frequently used in personnel selection; however, sometimes these tests may measure something other than honesty such as a person’s ability to decipher the appropriate responses to an “honesty” test which is actually a type of deception. To determine whether a test is measuring what it purports to measure, research must be conducted comparing the test to other variables such as behavior and future performance. The predictive studies in which a test is given and then performance is examined at a later time are the most important studies for using tests in selection. However, these studies are less frequently undertaken due to the time and expense involved.

A major practical problem with test validity is that tests with low predictive validity will have a significant number of false positives and false negatives. This means that numerous capable performers will not be identified and that individuals who should not have been selected will be selected. In the area of I/O psychology there has been significant problems with the tests being racially biased because the tests were developed on a primarily Caucasian population and those minorities were disproportionately not selected on the basis of the tests.

All the above problems and more exist with using personality testing to select among draft choices in sports. First of all, most personality tests were developed on other populations and have been co-opted by sports professionals. Therefore, there are increased validity problems when these tests are used on athletes. In particular, the Profile of Mood States has been extensively used in sport psychology. However, even as the name of the test suggests, it is not a personality test but a test of a temporary emotional state of being. Since it is capable of changing rapidly, it is not a good predictor of future performance although it may be able to classify present performing capability. Although successful athletes generally score higher on the Vigor subscale and lower on the other scales of Tension, Depression, Anger, Fatigue, and Confusion, it is possible that their profile changed because of their career rather than the profile causing the success. Research is not clearly determining the direction of causality in this area since most of it is correlational.

Due to the lack of predictive research, any attempts to use the personality tests and other tests for selecting athletes has great potential for being inaccurate. Another problem with validity of these tests for selecting athletes is the issue of truncated range which is that when dealing with an elite population, a test’s predictive validity decreases because the members of the population are so similar to one another and it is difficult to discriminate the minute differences.

Given all the above problems, it may be possible to use personality testing in a very limited way with the selection process of athletes. Police and fire departments and seminary programs have found personality testing that assesses dysfunctional personality and the presence of mental disorders can be useful in weeding out inappropriate candidates. Generally, the validity of personality tests for this purpose is stronger and does not tend to falsely identify many individuals as dysfunctional although it may inaccurately classify individuals as healthy. For this reason it is important that testing be conducted by a psychologist and include more than one test and an interview. If sports teams found that athletes with serious mental disorders, drug problems, or criminal tendencies are a detriment to the team, they may find that using personality testing in this manner can be helpful. However, otherwise, personality testing may create more problems than it solves.



print

Questions and Comments

All comments and questions require approval so you may not see your submission immediately.


Become a fan on Facebook! Follow on twitter for site updates! Follow on Google+ for site updates!