Compulsive traits and police officer performance

  • Emily DeCoster-Martin
  • William U. Weiss
  • Robert D. Davis
  • Cary D. Rostow


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.


Police Officer Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Criminal Psychology Offensive Conduct Unprofessional Conduct 


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Copyright information

© Society for Police and Criminal Psychology 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily DeCoster-Martin
    • 1
  • William U. Weiss
    • 1
  • Robert D. Davis
    • 2
  • Cary D. Rostow
    • 2
  1. 1.University of EvansvilleEvansvilleUSA
  2. 2.Matrix, Inc.Baton RougeUSA

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