TaskUs Announces Frontiers in Psychiatry Publishes First Peer-Reviewed Research Study Investigating Trait-Based, Pre-Hire Screening for Content Moderators

Published on January 30, 2024

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas, Oct. 19, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- TaskUs, Inc. (Nasdaq: TASK), a leading provider of outsourced digital services and next-generation customer experience to the world’s most innovative companies, today announced Frontiers in Psychiatry has published the first peer-reviewed study that evaluates a robust employee screening tool, The Cognitive Adaptability and Resiliency Employment Screener (CARES), designed to decrease psychological risk for content moderators.

Funded by the Wellness + Resiliency Division of Research, an independent research arm within TaskUs, and in collaboration with two leading psychologists – María Martín López and Keanan J. Joyner from a renowned U.S. research university – the study investigated the skills and dispositions that are most likely to succeed in the content moderator role without adverse outcomes.

“Content moderators are critical to making the online world safe for users,” said Rachel Lutz Guevera, Vice President of Trust + Safety at TaskUs. “Every day, they are exposed to content that ranges from misinformation to potentially disturbing images and text. We must find strategies for protecting their mental health and make this research widely available to the entire community, especially as AI will cause a massive proliferation in user-generated content and even more demand for moderators. Our goal with this study – one of 40 we’ve conducted over the past four years – is to develop a thorough yet concise vetting process to recruit those who best fit the role of content moderator.”

The CARES study examined 76 screening questions and yielded three factors: Psychological Perseverance & Agility, Rumination & Emotional Lingering, and Expressiveness & Sociability that showed good fit and relevance for qualities such as resilience, cognitive control and flexibility, emotional regulation, and optimism. Altogether, the findings revealed that the screener demonstrated characteristics consistent with a valid and robust measure, which, pending future studies, may serve as a promising employment screener for content moderators.


Social media platforms have seen tremendous growth, and with it comes massive user-generated content (UGC). Reviewing this content is vital to ensure a safe online environment. Content moderators encounter a wide range of material daily, from harmless posts to potentially offensive and questionable content. As platforms become larger and UGC becomes more ubiquitous, the need to monitor content continues to rise.

“When hiring content moderators, recruiters often rely on education checks and interviews. However, these methods can be subjective and non-comprehensive,” said Xieyining Huang, PhD, Vice President of Wellness + Resiliency at TaskUs. “Inadequate hiring practices may have partially contributed to the dissatisfaction and attrition seen among moderators. Therefore, it is crucial to develop scientific methods to reliably identify candidates who may be a good fit for the role – specifically, leveraging a psychometrically sound instrument as a pre-hire screener may be particularly helpful.”


The study aimed to develop a trait-based psychometric pre-hire screener for content moderation. Following standard requirements for establishing a valid psychometric instrument, the study included three testing phases and involved over 4,800 participants. Results indicated that the pre-hire screener assessed for three traits: Psychological Perseverance and Agility, Rumination and Emotion Lingering, and Expressiveness and Sociability. Findings supported the model fit, validity, and reliability of this psychometric pre-hire screener for content moderation.

About TaskUs

TaskUs is a leading provider of outsourced digital services and next-generation customer experience to the world’s most innovative companies, helping its clients represent, protect, and grow their brands. Leveraging a cloud-based infrastructure, TaskUs serves clients in the fastest-growing sectors, including social media, e-commerce, gaming, streaming media, food delivery and ride-sharing, Technology, FinTech, and HealthTech. As of June 30, 2023, TaskUs had a worldwide headcount of approximately 47,000 people across 27 locations in 13 countries, including the United States, the Philippines, and India.

TaskUs Contacts:

Investor Contact
Trent Thrash

Investor Relations

Media Contact
Lisa Wolford
Corporate Communications


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