Selecting Personnel for Safety-Sensitive Positions Managing Response Distortion
This chapter focuses on the response distortion that is present in psychological assessments for safety-sensitive positions, whether for the purpose of selection or subsequent fitness-for-duty evaluations. Response distortion is an extremely complex phenomenon; it occurs for a variety of reasons and with varied manifestations. The chapter examines several types of distortions and discusses how such distortions are manifested in the psychological assessment process. Response distortion can result from an individual’s conscious and purposeful attempt to conceal information that is perceived to be unattractive or to potentially subvert the goal of, for instance, obtaining a required medical certificate. In contrast, D. L. Paulhus used the term “Impression Management” to describe the conscious and intentional distortion employed in order to promote a favorable impression of the self. The nature and scope of response distortion must be understood and managed by psychological examiners in order to conduct valid assessments of aerospace personnel.