Decision-related action orientation predicts police officers’ shooting performance under pressure

H.M. Landman, A. Nieuwenhuys, R.R.D. Oudejans

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We aimed to test whether police officers’ trait self-control strength decreases negative effects of high pressure (HP) on state anxiety, shooting behavior, and shooting performance. Design and Methods: Forty-two officers performed a shooting test under both high and low-pressure (LP) conditions. Self-control strength was assessed with the decision-related action orientation (AOD) scale of the Action Control Scale (ACS-90). Effects of AOD on perceived anxiety, heart rate, shooting time, and shot accuracy were estimated and controlled for those of other individual difference measures (i.e. age, police working experience, trait anxiety, and threat-related action orientation). Results: After controlling for baseline values in the LP condition as well as the other individual difference measures, AOD significantly predicted shot accuracy in the HP condition. Conclusions: Results suggest that trait self-control strength in the form of AOD helps officers cope with anxiety and maintain perceptual-motor performance under HP.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)570-579
JournalAnxiety, Stress & Coping
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sept 2016


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