Topic: Written Report – Psychology
Pages: 10, Double spaced
Order type: Term Paper
Language: English (U.S.)
Written Report for this work (3rd assignment)
This is a continuation of two previous assignments, assignments 1 and 2. The previous assignments 1 and 2 are at end of this document for your reference.
You work for a large corporate business. One of the managers at the company receives an anonymous e-mail message claiming that a certain employee, Bob, has been acting strangely and muttering threats to get even with others. The manager calls the police, who, after obtaining Bob’s permission, search his car and workstation but find no evidence of any weapons. Bob denies ever making any sort of threat and says he was just having a bad day.
The manager asks you to conduct a threat assessment on Bob. The manager says that the company has the right to conduct a threat assessment, but Bob is liable to sue if he is fired as a consequence of your findings, so the threat assessment has to stand up to scrutiny in court. In addition, Bob must be determined by you to have “fully cooperated” with the assessment in order to avoid termination. Therefore, you can expect him to participate in any form of assessment you choose even though he may lie or misrepresent his answers. If you state Bob lied during the assessment, he will be fired. This, too, must stand up to scrutiny in court.
You review Bob’s personnel record. He has been late to work several times and has even come to work drunk. He missed one week of work three years ago while jailed on a drunk and disorderly charge. He took personal leave to cover the missed time, and the arrest was discovered only by a report in the newspaper.
At the time of his arrest, he had a gun in his possession, for which he had a permit and which he could carry as a concealed weapon. Bob has been divorced twice and has no children. He currently lives alone. He has completed the eleventh grade but not his General Educational Development (GED). School records reveal he was often truant and was suspended three times for fighting. He served two years in the military and was honorably discharged after being found to have a “severe personality disorder that made him unsuitable for duty.”
Requirements for this assighnment
You have completed your assessment of the employee and have the required information about the employee. You also have the information about other predictors of deceit (fake smiles and body language). You have also administered a risk assessment instrument, and the employee has been classified to be at moderate risk for assaultive behavior in the next five years.
On the basis of the results of your investigation, in a mock report format based on the readings and vignette data for the assignment tasks of the previous modules, create a 10- to 12-page report addressing the following:
• The results of the interview with the employee (a description of your mock interaction with and the mental status examination of the employee)
• A specific review of the employee’s predictors of violence factors
• An analysis of the validity and reliability of risk assessment instruments for making predictions of violence appropriate for the employee’s assessment
• The mock conclusions you arrived at about the employee’s potential for showing violence, while explaining reasons for such conclusions
• Some cautionary statements about the tenuousness of your conclusions, given the low base rate of violence in the employee
In addition, in your report, identify at least one potential victim of the employee. Make a recommendation for action by the company to protect that victim. Prepare your findings and recommendations in such a way that the employee cannot effectively sue the company for slander. An axiom of law is that negative statements do not constitute slander if they can be supported. Your job is to write the report in such a way (with supportable conclusions) that the company can establish that its actions were prudent.
Professor’s feedback on assignment 1 below (please don’t repeat the same mistakes I made):
• For identifying the methods I would use to evaluate the truthfulness of Bob’s responses, the professor said: You cannot promise to help him with things; your role is as the forensic mental health professional.
• For identifying a risk assessment tool used by psychologists to use for the investigation, the professor said: The DASS is not a risk assessment tool; you will need to identify a risk assessment tool.
• For assignment 2, he told me not to use as much direct quotes. My turnitin score was more than 20%. Please don’t use many direct quotes. Thanks.
Psychological Interview (Assignment 1 for reference purposes)
Part 1: Planning
Purpose of the specialized interview
Such a specialized interview like the one with Bob is to understand the interviewee more and assess the underlying factors in order to determine the underlying conditions that make him exhibit such behaviors. As for Bob, who is an employee at the organization and has been placed on the spotlight for threatening employees, a specialized interview would seek to understand the thought processes and activities that motivate or encourage such behavior. Another purpose of a specialized interview is to gather the necessary information that may needed to counsel the interviewee especially in the case of Bob. If the organization has a counselling section under the Human Resource Department, information gathered from the specialized interview will come in handy in assisting in future counseling, not only for Bob but also for other employees (Peterson, 2014).
Planning for the assessment
1. Building a rapport
This will involve providing effective introduction to Bob and asking rapport-building questions so that Bob can be at ease to respond to the questions.
2. Establish a structure
The interviewer should be in control and this should be used to let the candidate, who is Bob in this case, know what to expect.
3. Provide a preview
Bob should have a clear understanding on why the interview is being conducted and why his honest responses are required.
4. Ask encouraging questions
After understanding why Bob has anger issues, has been laid off from the force before, and got divorced twice, questions directed to him should encourage him and motivate positive responses.
5. Closing the interview
After getting the responses, even if they are not satisfactory, it is necessary to end the interview and assess the gathered information. If the interview was not satisfactory, it is important to set another date with Bob on a light note that would encourage him to participate in another interview (Groth-Marnat, 2013).
The interviewee and the reason for the interview
The person to be interviewed is Bob and the reason for interviewing him is to conduct a threat assessment, which has been ordered by the manager. Allegations have been forwarded that Bob has threatened other employees of getting even.
What to tell to the interviewee, Bob
After creating a rapport with Bob, the first piece of information to tell Bob is that his honesty will be highly appreciated and will help a lot towards not only collecting information but also helping him. However, it is necessary to inform Bob that any false information provided can be used against him in court because this is a police case, and can consequently lead to dismissal from work (Ana Mari Cauce et al, 2002). Through this, although Bob will be at ease from the rapport building, an element of fear created in him will push him to disclose more. If the information is contradictory, another channel of interview will be followed.
Advantages and disadvantages of a telephone interview
Telephone interviews are cheap and more cheerful compared to in-person interview. This is convenient when travelling is involved and the interviewee resides over a long distance. The other advantage is that questioning time is reduced and time is also saved (Antony, 2011). A specialist can be used to interview the other party in the name of the interviewer so long as the needed information is obtained. Telephone interviewing has the advantage of getting so much information in so little time. Due to the nature of calls transmitted through phone, body language is not involved, which in often times wastes time. The other advantage is that telephone interviews provide a stepping stone to other formal in-person interviews in future (Weiner, 2012).
Telephone interviews lack body language. Many psychologists bank on body language including limbs movement, eye contact and physical statue in order understand the physiological and mental processes of the interviewee. Telephone calls do not allow prompt response when the receiving party is absent. Therefore, the interviewer has to communicate prior to alert the interviewee of an arranged interview so as not to miss the session in case of absence (Weiner, 2012). Additionally, the interviewee is likely to unilaterally terminate a telephone interview without any warning, bringing the interview process to a standstill. Without the face-to-face communication, telephone calls limit interaction especially when there is need to create a rapport with the interviewee so as to make the respondent confident and respond to any questions however sensitive they might be (Lam, 2011).
Assessment instruments to be used in the assessment of Bob
A background analysis tool will come in handy in aiding the understanding of his background, how he grew up, his social life as well as any other events that might have characterized his childhood. Family information will also be a significant tool in understanding the nature of parents Bob had and the nature of the parents’ relationships among themselves as well as towards Bob (Peterson, 2014). The other tool is the value and preference form, which Bob will fill or questions asked from it to determine the elements that Bob values and the preferences in his life. The tool will also gather information about the employees Bob associates with while at work as well as those that are close to him and the ones he would prefer to carry out certain tasks.
Evaluating the truthfulness of Bob’s responses
The speech and body language should provide information whether he is lying or not. If this passes, questions should be asked from the background information, after which the reactions of Bob will be watched closely. If Bob is stable and shows confidence in answering some questions, this will be used to determine the authenticity of information provided. However, information collected from the background check should be kept confidential after which the responses will be analyzed alongside what the report says on Bob (Pitts, 2013).
Methods to use in dealing with Bob’s defensive posture
The first method would be to create a rapport. The other method would be to lobby through the use of a close friend, who will encourage him to provide truthful and honest information. Another method would be to promise to work on something he admires, which might be his family. In the event Bob is in need of financial aid, helping him will also sum up as a method to deal with Bob’s defensive character.
A single instrument that can be used in assessing Bob is the depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS) assessment.
References for DASS
Lam, R. (2011). Assessment Scales in Depression, Mania and Anxiety. New York : CRC Press.
Lam is for the idea that DASS is an effective tool in assessing and interviewing Bob in order to understand his psychological thoughts. As a person who has been frustrated in life, Lam argues that the scale will provide an accurate measure of the anxiety and depression levels in Bob. Additionally, Bob argues that it provides an avenue to more information on the interviewee, who is considered a patient.
Lovibond, S. (2016). Manual for the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales. Melbourne : Psychology Foundation of Australia,
Lovibond is also for the same idea and argues that the DASS tool is effective in determining depression and anxiety levels in a psychological test. The author cites the key advantage if the tool that it point out possible elements that a person is going through that might contribute to stress, anxiety and depression just like Bob.
References against DASS
Weiner, I. (2012). Handbook of Psychology, Assessment Psychology. New York : John WIley & Sons .
According to Weiner, clinical and statistical tools like the DASS do not apply in such a case. According to the author, anxiety, depression and stress are qualitative aspects that cannot be quantified. Therefore, it is difficult to use the scale and get an approriate figure. Moreover, Weiner is for the idea that qualitative measures should be used to treat qualitative conditions.
Groth-Marnat, G. (2013). Handbook of Psychological Assessment. New York : John Wiley & Sons.
As a key psychologist, Groth-Marnat believes that the power to counsel and treat a psychological case lies in the rapport and understanding created between the two parties. Therefore, according to the author, it is more important to talk to the client and understand the thoughts and determine the reasons for exhibiting such anxious, stressful and depression characters.
Ana Mari Cauce et al. (2002). Cultural and Contextual Influences in Mental Health Help Seeking. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 2-12.
Antony, M. (2011). Handbook of Assessment and Treatment Planning for Psychological Disorders. New York : Gilford Press.
Groth-Marnat, G. (2013). Handbook of Psychological Assessment. New York : John Wiley & Sons .
Lam, R. (2011). Assessment Scales in Depression, Mania and Anxiety. New York : CRC Press.
Lovibond, S. (2016). Manual for the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales. Melbourne : Psychology Foundation of Australia,.
Management Association Information Resources. (2014). Psychology and Mental Health: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools. New York : IGI Press.
Peterson, C. (2014). Looking Forward Through the Lifespan: Developmental Psychology. New York : Perason Education Publishers .
Pitts, M. (2013). The Psychology of Preventive Health. New York : Routledge Learning .
Stokes, G. (2015). On Being Old: The Psychology Of Later Life. New York : Routledge Taylor & francis Group .
Weiner, I. (2012). Handbook of Psychology, Assessment Psychology. New York : John WIley & Sons .
ASSIGNMENT 2 (for reference purposes)
1. Listening and leading during the interview and confession process
Conducting investigative interviews is quite a challenging task because often the success of an investigation is determined by the characteristics and efficiency of the interviewer. Asking endless questions without giving someone a chance to respond automatically makes them go into a defiance mode. “An effective interviewer should be an active listener, as well as an active observer” (AICPA n.d p.g3). According to (Fleisher and Gordon, 2010), one of the most important characteristics of a good interviewer is good communication. Communication in this sense not only involves using words but also using non-verbal communication such as body movement, gestures, pauses and tone intonation. The interviewer must be able to pay attention to both the information that he is sending out and what he is receiving from Bob. This he can achieve by actively listening and also paying attention to Bob’s behavior. Apply the 80-20 rule where you let the interviewee talk 80% of the time without the interviewer interrupting (AICPA).
For an interview to be effective, it must be relevant, thorough and objective. The interviewer must be adequately prepared so as to gather enough information. The interview must also be conducted in a professional, respectful and non-judgmental manner. Being objective and courteous will enable the interviewer to easily gain the suspect’s confidence and create a comfortable interviewing setting. The interviewer should have a list of questions prepared that will guide him to gather all the relevant information from Bob. However, the open-ended question should form the main focus of interviews as well. The location also matters to ensure privacy and reduce interruptions. Of importance is that the interviewer should avoid being aggressive and not form opinions based on personal feelings or beliefs because this might affect how he interacts with Bob (Hoffman, 2005).
There are a number of interviewing methods or techniques available with some being forceful or more like interrogations than interview commonly meant to intimidate the suspect into confessing. This can lead to false confession (Fleisher and Gordon 2010). However, it is more ethical to get a true confession from Bob and this can be achieved using the PEACE model developed in the 1990s (Gudjonsson and Pearse, 2011). This technique is less confrontational thus making it easier to get information from an interviewee because he is more relaxed as opposed to one who is fearful due to intimidation. PEACE simply involves preparation and planning, engage and explain, account, closure and evaluate (Meissner, et al., 2012).
Preparation and planning for the interview are critical for the success of an interview. This involves gathering as much information about the issue as possible and also knowing as much personal background information on Bob. The information gathered must be credible, current, and relevant to the case. Engage and Explain involves the interviewer establishing rapport, asking the correct questions and listening carefully to Bob in order to obtain the right information. The account is when the interviewer actively listens to Bob’s side of the story without having leading questions. The first step in an interview is to start by general questions before progressing to more specific details. While listening to the answers the interviewer must also look for non-verbal clues to indicate if Bob is being truthful or not. The closure is how the interview should end, with a summary of Bob’s account and not just an abrupt ending. Finally, the interviewer must Evaluate how the interview went in connection with the investigation in order to determine if there is the need for further action. The interviewer must also self-evaluate their performance to see what was achieved and what went wrong (Gudjonsson, 2003; Meissner et al., 2012).
2. How will you Challenge the Uncooperative, Untruthful or Unwilling Employee?
A noncooperating employee makes the interviewer have a much more difficult job. There are various reasons that may make a suspect uncooperative or untruthful. This includes fear of retaliation, anger, or guilt. Whichever the reason, the interviewer’s first step is to know why the employee is unwilling or uncooperative. Once the reason is known then the interviewer is in a better position to reason with the employee and to have a much more effective strategy. The interviewer can find out the reasons by first of all asking general questions, unrelated to the case at hand. By creating rapport, the interviewer makes the employee more at ease to disclose information. Through rapport, the interviewer could also show empathy and speak the employee’s language or enter their world’. It is also important that the interviewer explains the importance of cooperating.
‘By empathizing with the employee and mirroring their behaviors, the interviewer makes it easier for the employee to willingly cooperate and tell the truth. The empathy exhibited by the interviewer can psychologically make the employee at ease enough to encourage them to cooperate even if just for a while (Schollum, 2005). A good response is summarized by Shepherd “…requirements include: the rejection of a ‘win-lose’ mentality; detailed knowledge; forethought in terms of grasp of information and issues, detailed planning and detailed preparation including potential barriers to talk; and a balance of assertion and listening consistent with finding out facts and minding feelings i.e. respect for the person, empathy, supportiveness, punitiveness, openness, a non-judgemental attitude, straightforward talk and a conversational style signalling a commitment to talk across as equals, not up-down or as pseudo equals…” (Shepherd, 1993, p.7).
3. How Will You Interpret the Verbal and Physical Behaviour of Bob
Research has shown that most of the conversation between human beings is through non-verbal communication. In a study by Mehrabian (1981), the findings indicated that 55% of communication occurs through facial expressions or body language, 38% through tone of voice and the rest, 7%, is verbal. This can only suggest that an interviewer must be more aware of the non-verbal communication than what is being said. Non-verbal communication such as tone of voice, eye contact, gestures and facial expression can be used to interpret whether what the employee is saying is true. Interpreting both verbal and non-verbal communication requires active listening and observation. This is because all the behaviors occur in a rapid succession and might be difficult to analyze if one is not keen.
However, it is important to note that everybody uses a body language and sometimes these are open to misinterpretation. To avoid misinterpretation, the interviewer should get to know the employee’s behavioral norm before the interview. This requires adequate preparation by the interviewer. Alternatively, he can start with general questions about unrelated topics at the start of the conversation to create a background or foundation in which to judge all the non-verbal responses. For example, when Bob stares at the floor is it a sign of guilt or he is just nervous. Does he maintain an open posture which makes the interviewer believes he is honest or does he fold his arms on the chest to show dishonesty? To interpret both the verbal and non-verbal cues, Hazlet (2006) suggests the use of both Reality monitoring and statement validity assessment. The two can be used to validate whether statements are true or fabricated. The Statement validity assessment analyzes the depth and structure of the verbal content such as when Bob provides laced or exaggerated details. Reality monitoring on the other hand checks on the practicality and clarity of the story being told by the employer. For instance, Bob giving a story with few and unusual detail may be interpreted as deceptive (Hazlet, 2006).
4. Reducing resistance
One of the vital components in obtaining truth during the interview is for the interviewer to reduce the Subject’s resistance. The interviewer must be able to convince Bob to tell the truth and make an admission in the involvement without using any confrontational methods. There are several techniques that can be used to reduce Bob’s resistance to confession. However, the most common method used is the Wicklander-Zulawski non-confrontational technique (WZ) which can also be used to get a confession and determine if a person is telling the truth. When using the WZ technique, the interviewer must establish rapport and develop credibility so as to move the subject closer to a confession. This can be done in three ways; rationalization, minimization and projection (Hazzlet, 2005).
Rationalization involves the use of stories that will provide Bob with a reason to confess. The interviewer comes up with either real or fabricated story that will convince Bob that he is not the first offender and that it is alright to tell the truth. In the stories, the interviewer presents plausible explanations to justify Bob’s behavior. The reason should be general and not specific to Bob’s crime. The interviewer should use words such as “they or them” and not “you”. By using stories, the interviewer shows that he understands Bob’s problems and also helps in building rapport. The interviewer can select the rationalization based on Bob’s background. For example, the interviewer could talk about the pain of being divorced and also being discharged from the military which can lead to anger issues. These persuasive acts of rationalization allow Bob to save face by finding an excuse as to why he committed the crime (Zulawski, Wicklander, Sturman and Hoover, 2001). According to Hazzlet (2005), suspects are always resistant because they fear that confession will lead to arrest, loss of employment and affect their self-image. However, rationalization helps a suspect to overcome their fear of confession and at the same time clear they’re conscious.
The second technique is minimizing the offense committed. The interviewer can minimize the crime committed by Bob by assuring him that it was not intentional or convincing him that the crime is not all that serious. It involves downplaying Bob’s actions and the gravity of the situation. For example, the interviewer can state that the victim of the threat was in the wrong or that Bob’s action was not intentional, or that it was a misunderstanding between him and the victims. This will reduce Bob’s psychological perception of the seriousness of his crime and get him to confess. Finally, the interviewer can use projection where he places the blame on someone or something else but not Bob. The one to be blamed could be the victim, the society, Bob’s past etc. This will make Bob feel like he is not solely responsible for his actions (Zulawski et al., 2001).
AICPA. Forensic and Valuation Services Sector. (n.d). Conducting Effective Interviews. Retrieved on 19th September 2017 from http://www.aicpa.org/InterestAreas/ForensicAndValuation/Resources/PractAidsGuidance/DownloadableDocuments/10834-378_interview%20whiite%20paper-FINAL-v1.pdf
Fleisher W.L., and Gordon, N.J. (2010). Effective Interviewing and Interrogation Techniques. Elsevier Academic Press, Burlington, MA USA.
Gudjonsson, G. H. (2003). The Psychology of Interrogations and Confessions: A Handbook. Wiley.
Gudjonsson, G.H. and Pearse, J. (2011). Suspect Interviews and False Confessions. Current Directions in Psychological Science. Sage Pub 2011 20:33
Hazlett, G. (2005). Educing Information Interrogation: Science and Art Foundations for the Future. National Intelligence College. Washington DC NDIC Press. https://fas.org/irp/dni/educing.pdf
Hoffman, C. D. (2005). Investigative Interviewing: Strategies and Techniques. International Foundation for Protection Officers. Available at https://www.ifpo.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/interviewing.pdf
Mehrabian, A. (1981). Silent messages: Implicit communication of emotions and attitudes. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Available at http://www.kaaj.com/psych/smorder.html
Meissner, C. A. et al. (2012). Interview and interrogation methods and their effects on true and false confessions. Campbell Systematic Reviews (2012:2013), The Campbell Collaboration, available at https://www.campbellcollaboration.org/media/k2/attachments/Meissner_Interview_Interrogation_Review.pdf
Schollum, M. (2005). Review of Investigative Interviewing. Investigative Interviewing: The Literature. New Zealand Police. Available at http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.117.228&rep=rep1&type=pdf
Shepherd, E. (1993). Aspects of police interviewing. Issues in Criminology and Legal Psychology. N0.18. The British Psychological Society.
Zulawski, D.E., Wicklander, D.E., Sturman, S.G. and Hoover W.L. (2001). Practical Aspects of Interview and Interrogation, Second Edition. CRC press, New York