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Title:The Structure and Utility of Social Desirability Scales in Psychological Research
Author(s):Smith, Heidi Lynn
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Ed Diener
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Personality
Abstract:For nearly 70 years researchers have tried to measure and control socially desirable responding (SDR) using scales designed to quantify its influence. At this point, it seems necessary to ask two questions. First, "are these scales valid?" and second, "are they useful?" In Phase 1 of the research, the two-factor structure of social desirability suggested in previous studies was examined using confirmatory factor analytic methods. Participants $(N=150)$ completed eight widely used measures of SDR. The analyses confirmed that a two-factor model fit the data; however, paths between the error terms of several indicators of self-deception had to be freed. This suggests that these scales are not well-captured by a single underlying dimension, and it may be fruitful to think of self-deception as a family of cognitive strategies rather than a single construct. In Phase 2, partial correlation and regression techniques were used to examine the utility of SD scales in statistically controlling SDR. Reports of personal attributes were matched with objective, non-self report criteria when possible. The analyses provided little support for the hypotheses that SD acts as a moderator, suppressor, or third variable in most psychological research. Moderator effects can be detected when the variables of interest are measured with little error; however, these effects are quite small. Partial correlations suggested that SD scales may share content variance with personality measures of neuroticism, agreeableness, and conscientiousness, and in these cases it is unwise to statistically control for social desirability.
Issue Date:1997
Description:88 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1997.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9812776
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:1997

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