Social Desirability and Self-Reports: Testing a Content and Response-Style Model of Socially Desirable Responding


  • Arta Dodaj


Personality assessment as a pre-employment screening procedure receives great interest from both researchers and practitioners. One key concern for selection specialists is represented by the response distortion among job applicants completing personality inventories. There are different operationalizations of socially desirable responding. One of the most accepted operationalizations was provided by Paulhus who distinguished between two social desirability factors (the egoistic and moralistic bias) as well as their conscious and unconscious aspects (management and enhancement). The aim of the study reported here is to test the basic assumption of the Paulhus model of socially desirable responding. A convenience sample of 200 students (N = 21.61; SD = 1.46) completed the Comprehensive Inventory of Desirable Responding (Paulhus, 2006) and the International Personality Item Pool Questionnaire (Goldberg, 1999; by Goldberg et al., 2006). Questionnaires were applied in three conditions: honest responding, responding as an ideal manager job applicant, and as an ideal teacher applicant. Results give partial support to the existence of egoistic and moralistic bias. However, conscious and unconscious aspects of distortion were not found. In conclusion it could be said that Paulhus’ model doesn’t provide a full answer to the problem of the nature of socially desirable responding.