Reducing Injuries, Malingering, and Workers’ Compensation Costs by Implementing Overt Integrity Testing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Workers’ compensation costs are a substantial expense for employers. Given mixed results of training and job redesign interventions designed to reduce accidents leading to claims, organizations may wish to reduce these costs by screening job applicants with integrity tests. Building on theories of workplace safety and malingering (i.e., faking or exaggerating injuries for personal gain), we argue that overt integrity tests predict workers’ compensation claims through both workplace injuries and malingering. Analyses of archival data from three organizations (study 1) found screening job applicants reduced workers’ compensation claim rates and related costs, demonstrating a return on investment of 734% in one sample and 866% in another. In a three-wave survey of working adults (study 2), integrity test scores related directly to malingering, and indirectly to workplace injuries through motivation to work safely and compliance with safety rules. Analyses of three common dimensions of overt integrity tests (substance abuse, aggression, and theft) found theft scores directly related to malingering, and indirectly related to injuries through lower safety compliance. Substance abuse scores were related to higher rates of injury through lower safety motivation and compliance. Aggression scores were not related to malingering or injuries. We conclude that screening job applicants with overt integrity tests can be a cost-effective way to reduce unnecessary workplace injuries, malingering, and the related workers’ compensation claims.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-512
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Business and Psychology
Volume36
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Integrity test
  • Malingering
  • Selection
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Workplace safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychology(all)

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