Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Socially Desirable Responding on Self-Reports

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1349-1



Whenever individual differences are measured with self-reports, concerns arise over response biases: They are habitual tendencies to respond to questions based on item properties such as keying direction and the desirability of the response options. Such tendencies may interfere with the ability of self-reports to capture the intended individual differences. Validity scales are available to measure such response biases as acquiescent responding, extreme responding, and random responding. But for various reasons, the greatest concern has been voiced over individual differences in socially desirable responding (SDR), that is, stylistic differences in the tendency to present oneself in a positive light.


Socially Desirable Responding (SDR) may occur as a response style, that is, a general tendency to give desirable answers on all self-reports. This consistent behavior may or may not have...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Bakan, D. (1966). The duality of human existence: Isolation and communion in Western man. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  2. Blasberg, S. A., Rogers, K. H., & Paulhus, D. L. (2014). The Bidimensional Impression Management Index (BIMI): Measuring agentic and communal forms of impression management. Journal of Personality Assessment, 96, 523–531.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Crowne, D. P., & Marlowe, D. (1960). A new scale of social desirability independent of psychopathology. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 24, 349.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Crowne, D. P., & Marlowe, D. (1964). The approval motive. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  5. Davis, C. G., Thake, J., & Weekes, J. R. (2012). Impression managers: Nice guys or serious criminals? Journal of Research in Personality, 46, 25–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Edwards, A. L. (1957). The social desirability variable in personality assessment and research. New York: Dryden Press.Google Scholar
  7. Eysenck, H. J., & Eysenck, S. B. G. (1975). Manual of the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ). London: Stoughton Educational.Google Scholar
  8. Graziano, W. G., & Tobin, R. (2002). Agreeableness: Dimension of personality or social desirability artifact? Journal of Personality, 70, 695–727.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Holden, R. R., & Fekken, G. C. (1989). Three common social desirability scales: Friends, acquaintances, or strangers? Journal of Research in Personality, 23, 180–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Holden, R. R., & Kroner, D. G. (1992). Relative efficacy of differential response latencies for detecting faking on a self-report measure of psychopathology. Psychological Assessment, 4, 170–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T. (1983). Social desirability scales: More substance than style. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 51, 882–888.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Meehl, P. E., & Hathaway, S. R. (1946). The K factor as a suppressor variable in the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. Journal of Applied Psychology, 30, 525–564.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Paulhus, D. L. (1984). Two-component models of socially desirable responding. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 46, 598–609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Paulhus, D. L. (1991). Measurement and control of response bias. In J. P. Robinson, P. R. Shaver, & L. S. Wrightsman (Eds.), Measures of personality and social psychological attitudes (pp. 17–59). San Diego: Academic Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Paulhus, D. L. (2002). Socially desirable responding: The evolution of a construct. In H. I. Braun, D. N. Jackson, & D. E. Wiley (Eds.), The role of constructs in psychological and educational measurement (pp. 49–69). Mahwah: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  16. Paulhus, D. L., & Trapnell, P. D. (2008). Self-presentation: An agency-communion framework. In O. P. John, R. W. Robins, & L. A. Pervin (Eds.), Handbook of personality psychology (pp. 492–517). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  17. Paulhus, D. L., Harms, P. D., Bruce, M. N., & Lysy, D. C. (2003). The over-claiming technique: Measuring self-enhancement independent of ability. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 681–693.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Rogers, R., Gillis, J. R., Bagby, R. M., & Monteiro, E. (1991). Detection of malingering on the Structured Interview of Reported Symptoms (SIRS): A study of coached and uncoached simulators. Psychological Assessment, 3, 673–677.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Uziel, L. (2014). Impression management (“lie”) scales are associated with interpersonally oriented self-control, not other-deception. Journal of Personality, 82, 200–212.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Vecchione, M., & Alessandri, G. (2013). Alpha and beta traits and egoistic and moralistic self-enhancement: A point of convergence between two research traditions. Journal of Personality, 81, 39–48.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Wiggins, J. S. (1959). Interrelationships among MMPI measures of dissimulation under standard and social desirability instructions. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 23, 419–427.Google Scholar
  22. Wiggins, J. S. (1973). Personality and prediction: Principles of personality assessment. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  23. Ziegler, M., & Buehner, M. (2009). Modeling socially desirable responding and its effects. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 69, 548–565.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ziegler, M., MacCann, C., & Roberts, R. D. (2012). New perspectives on faking in personality assessment. Oxford: New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada