Between-Sex Differences in the Work Sample Test Battery Performed by Law Enforcement Recruits: Implications for Training and Potential Job Performance

Robert G Lockie, Maria M Beitzel, Joseph M Dulla, J Jay Dawes, Robin M Orr, Javier A Hernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Between-sex differences in the work sample test battery performed by law enforcement recruits: implications for training and potential job performance. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000-000, 2020-Law enforcement officers perform a range of demanding job-specific tasks, and these tasks are the same for all officers, regardless of sex. Female officers tend to be at a physical disadvantage compared with male officers, and this could affect their performance in job-specific tasks. This study investigated the between-sex differences in the work sample test battery (WSTB; duplicates what an officer encounters on-duty) in law enforcement recruits. A retrospective analysis was performed on 308 recruits (259 men and 49 women) from 5 training academy classes. The WSTB incorporated 5 tests: a 99-yard obstacle course (99OC), 165-pound body drag (BD), 6-foot chain link fence (CLF), solid wall (SW) climb, and 500-yard run (500R). These tests were typically performed in the last weeks of academy and must be completed to a state-mandated minimum standard for recruits to graduate. Independent-samples t tests (p < 0.05) and effect sizes (d) calculated between-sex differences. Noting that when individual data were considered, there were male recruits who were outperformed by female recruits. However, on average, female recruits were slower on all WSTB tasks than male recruits (p < 0.01). Large effects were present for the 99OC, CLF, and 500R differences (d = 1.26-1.69), a moderate effect for the BD (d = 0.85), and a small effect for the SW (d = 0.56). Slower performance in job-specific tests could translate to slower performance in tasks required on-duty. Training staff should develop the qualities necessary for WSTB performance in female recruits and underperforming male recruits to enhance future job performance.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jun 2020

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