social desirability


Summary: A personality trait rendering the individual acceptable in social or interpersonal relations. It is related to social acceptance, social approval, popularity, social status, leadership qualities, or any quality making him a socially desirable companion.

Top Publications

  1. Soubelet A, Salthouse T. Influence of social desirability on age differences in self-reports of mood and personality. J Pers. 2011;79:741-62 pubmed publisher affect and in certain desirable personality traits might, at least partially, reflect age differences in social desirability. As expected, increased age was associated with lower levels of negative affect and Neuroticism and higher ..
  2. Lowndes C, Jayachandran A, Banandur P, Ramesh B, Washington R, Sangameshwar B, et al. Polling booth surveys: a novel approach for reducing social desirability bias in HIV-related behavioural surveys in resource-poor settings. AIDS Behav. 2012;16:1054-62 pubmed publisher
    ..g. 11 vs. 2% married males reported paying for sex; 6 vs. 1% unmarried males reported homosexual anal sex. ..
  3. Crutzen R, Göritz A. Does social desirability compromise self-reports of physical activity in web-based research?. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2011;8:31 pubmed publisher
    This study investigated the relation between social desirability and self-reported physical activity in web-based research...
  4. af Wåhlberg A. Social desirability effects in driver behavior inventories. J Safety Res. 2010;41:99-106 pubmed publisher
    ..If a scale correlated with self-reported crashes, the amount of predictive power was more than halved when social desirability was controlled for. Results were similar for both samples and all waves...
  5. Robinson E, Tobias T, Shaw L, Freeman E, Higgs S. Social matching of food intake and the need for social acceptance. Appetite. 2011;56:747-52 pubmed publisher
    ..In Study 2, priming social acceptance reduced the matching effect in females. These findings suggest that desire for social acceptance may be an underlying cause of social matching of food intake. ..
  6. Nolte S, Elsworth G, Osborne R. Absence of social desirability bias in the evaluation of chronic disease self-management interventions. Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2013;11:114 pubmed publisher
    Bias due to social desirability has long been of concern to evaluators relying on self-report data...
  7. Krieger N, Kaddour A, Koenen K, Kosheleva A, Chen J, Waterman P, et al. Occupational, social, and relationship hazards and psychological distress among low-income workers: implications of the 'inverse hazard law'. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2011;65:260-72 pubmed publisher
    ..Reckoning with the joint and embodied reality of diverse types of hazards involving how people live and work is necessary for understanding determinants of health status. ..
  8. Kelly C, Soler Hampejsek E, Mensch B, Hewett P. Social desirability bias in sexual behavior reporting: evidence from an interview mode experiment in rural Malawi. Int Perspect Sex Reprod Health. 2013;39:14-21 pubmed publisher
    b>Social desirability bias is problematic in studies that rely on self-reported sexual behavior data...
  9. Henderson C, Evans Lacko S, Flach C, Thornicroft G. Responses to mental health stigma questions: the importance of social desirability and data collection method. Can J Psychiatry. 2012;57:152-60 pubmed
    ..people with mental health problems, and an established attitudes scale, and to investigate whether social desirability affects responses to the new measures and test whether this varies according to data collection method...

More Information


  1. Sanzone L, Lee J, Divaris K, DeWalt D, Baker A, Vann W. A cross sectional study examining social desirability bias in caregiver reporting of children's oral health behaviors. BMC Oral Health. 2013;13:24 pubmed publisher
    ..We hypothesize that this may be due to social desirability bias (SDB)...
  2. Beauclair R, Meng F, Deprez N, Temmerman M, Welte A, Hens N, et al. Evaluating audio computer assisted self-interviews in urban South African communities: evidence for good suitability and reduced social desirability bias of a cross-sectional survey on sexual behaviour. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2013;13:11 pubmed publisher
    ..However, self-reported data from sexual behaviour surveys are prone to social desirability bias (SDB)...
  3. Li F, Niu X, Li Y. Age-related and situation-related social desirability responding among Chinese teachers. J Soc Psychol. 2011;151:667-70 pubmed
    b>Social desirability responding (SDR) was affected by situation and age. However, most research is only concerned with overall SDR without considering the separation of impression management and self-deception...
  4. Crutzen R, Göritz A. Social desirability and self-reported health risk behaviors in web-based research: three longitudinal studies. BMC Public Health. 2010;10:720 pubmed publisher
    These studies sought to investigate the relation between social desirability and self-reported health risk behaviors (e.g., alcohol use, drug use, smoking) in web-based research...
  5. Vernon S, Abotchie P, McQueen A, White A, Eberth J, Coan S. Is the accuracy of self-reported colorectal cancer screening associated with social desirability?. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2012;21:61-5 pubmed publisher
    ..857) age 50 to 74 years completed a mail, face-to-face, or telephone survey that assessed CRC screening and social desirability measured by a short version of the Marlowe-Crowne scale...
  6. Harris P, Griffin D, Murray S. Testing the limits of optimistic bias: event and person moderators in a multilevel framework. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2008;95:1225-37 pubmed publisher
    ..Interaction results imply that both individual differences and event characteristics should jointly be considered in understanding optimistic bias (or comparative optimism) and its application to risk communication. ..
  7. Taylor T, Kamarck T, Shiffman S. Validation of the Detroit Area Study Discrimination Scale in a community sample of older African American adults: the Pittsburgh healthy heart project. Int J Behav Med. 2004;11:88-94 pubmed
    ..related to global reports of perceived stress and depression but was unrelated to measures of hostility and social desirability. Everyday Mistreatment was significantly related to average EMA score measures of Negative Affect and ..
  8. Tan L, Grace R. Social desirability and sexual offenders: a review. Sex Abuse. 2008;20:61-87 pubmed publisher
    b>Social desirability--the desire to make a favorable impression on others-poses a significant threat to the validity of self-reports...
  9. Prinstein M, Borelli J, Cheah C, Simon V, Aikins J. Adolescent girls' interpersonal vulnerability to depressive symptoms: a longitudinal examination of reassurance-seeking and peer relationships. J Abnorm Psychol. 2005;114:676-88 pubmed
  10. Little A, Jones B, Burt D, Perrett D. Preferences for symmetry in faces change across the menstrual cycle. Biol Psychol. 2007;76:209-16 pubmed
    ..Such strategic preferences for symmetry may support the role of symmetry in signalling potential good-gene benefits. ..
  11. Giebel G, Groeben N. Social desirability in the measuring of patient satisfaction after treatment of coloproctologic disorders: on shortcomings of general bipolar satisfaction scales for quality management. Langenbecks Arch Surg. 2008;393:513-20 pubmed publisher
    ..However, these scales are often susceptible to social desirability biases...
  12. Adams S, Matthews C, Ebbeling C, Moore C, Cunningham J, Fulton J, et al. The effect of social desirability and social approval on self-reports of physical activity. Am J Epidemiol. 2005;161:389-98 pubmed
    The purpose of this investigation was to examine social desirability and social approval as sources of error in three self-reported physical activity assessments using objective measures of physical activity as reference measures...
  13. Guest G, Bunce A, Johnson L, Akumatey B, Adeokun L. Fear, hope and social desirability bias among women at high risk for HIV in West Africa. J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care. 2005;31:285-7 pubmed
    ..b>Social desirability bias (SDB) is one of the key factors identified as affecting self-report accuracy...
  14. Hopwood C, Flato C, Ambwani S, Garland B, Morey L. A comparison of Latino and Anglo socially desirable responding. J Clin Psychol. 2009;65:769-80 pubmed publisher
    ..Thus, data suggest normative differences between these groups in social presentation that should be considered in culturally sensitive clinical practice. ..
  15. Davis C, Thake J, Vilhena N. Social desirability biases in self-reported alcohol consumption and harms. Addict Behav. 2010;35:302-11 pubmed publisher
    ..The objective of this research is to assess the extent to which social desirability biases relate to self-reported consumption, hazardous use, and harms...
  16. Jago R, Baranowski T, Baranowski J, Cullen K, Thompson D. Social desirability is associated with some physical activity, psychosocial variables and sedentary behavior but not self-reported physical activity among adolescent males. Health Educ Res. 2007;22:438-49 pubmed
    This study examined whether controlling for social desirability improved the association between self-reported and objectively measured physical activity among adolescent males and the extent that psychosocial variables predict physical ..
  17. Welling L, Jones B, Debruine L, Conway C, Law Smith M, Little A, et al. Raised salivary testosterone in women is associated with increased attraction to masculine faces. Horm Behav. 2007;52:156-61 pubmed
  18. Hebert J, Hurley T, Peterson K, Resnicow K, Thompson F, Yaroch A, et al. Social desirability trait influences on self-reported dietary measures among diverse participants in a multicenter multiple risk factor trial. J Nutr. 2008;138:226S-234S pubmed
    Data collected at 4 Behavioral Change Consortium sites were used to assess social desirability bias in self-reports derived from a dietary fat screener (PFat), a dietary fruit and vegetable screener (FVS), and a 1-item question on fruit ..
  19. Pawlowski B, Jasienska G. Women's preferences for sexual dimorphism in height depend on menstrual cycle phase and expected duration of relationship. Biol Psychol. 2005;70:38-43 pubmed
    ..The results show that women in a potentially fertile phase of their menstrual cycle and when choosing a partner who might be less likely to invest in children select genes of taller males. ..
  20. Zhang M, McGrath C, Hagg U. The impact of malocclusion and its treatment on quality of life: a literature review. Int J Paediatr Dent. 2006;16:381-7 pubmed
    ..There is a need for a more comprehensive and rigorous assessment of the impact of malocclusion and its treatment on QoL, employing standardized, valid and reliable data collection instruments. ..
  21. Canu W, Newman M, Morrow T, Pope D. Social appraisal of adult ADHD: stigma and influences of the beholder's Big Five personality traits. J Atten Disord. 2008;11:700-10 pubmed
    ..Findings also suggest peers' personalities do have some effect on appraisals of targets with ADHD ..
  22. Tao P, Guoying D, Brody S. Preliminary study of a Chinese language short form of the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale. Psychol Rep. 2009;105:1039-46 pubmed
    ..reliability and discriminant validity of a Chinese language short form (14-item) of the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale, data from 197 Chinese medical students were analyzed. Half (48 men, M age = 23.0 yr...
  23. Darnon C, Dompnier B, Delmas F, Pulfrey C, Butera F. Achievement goal promotion at university: social desirability and social utility of mastery and performance goals. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2009;96:119-34 pubmed publisher
    ..Indeed, high endorsement of mastery goals was associated with being judged as both likable (social desirability) and likely to succeed (social utility)...
  24. Tourangeau R, Yan T. Sensitive questions in surveys. Psychol Bull. 2007;133:859-83 pubmed
    Psychologists have worried about the distortions introduced into standardized personality measures by social desirability bias...
  25. Strahan R. Regarding some short forms of the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale. Psychol Rep. 2007;100:483-8 pubmed
    A program of Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale research is described, focusing on the distinction between positively keyed and negatively keyed items...
  26. Little A, Jones B, Burriss R. Preferences for masculinity in male bodies change across the menstrual cycle. Horm Behav. 2007;51:633-9 pubmed
  27. Verduin T, Kendall P. Peer perceptions and liking of children with anxiety disorders. J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2008;36:459-69 pubmed
    ..Target children with SP were liked less regardless of how anxious peers perceived them to be. Peer rater and target child demographics did not moderate the relationship between peer-rated anxiety and peer liking. ..
  28. Barros R, Moreira P, Oliveira B. [Effect of social desirability on dietary intake estimated from a food questionnaire]. Acta Med Port. 2005;18:241-7 pubmed
    ..The objective of study was to assess the effect of social desirability on dietary intake from a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ)...
  29. Tatman A, Swogger M, Love K, Cook M. Psychometric properties of the Marlowe-Crowne social desirability scale with adult male sexual offenders. Sex Abuse. 2009;21:21-34 pubmed publisher
    This research project investigates the factor structure, reliability, and validity of the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (MCSDS) when used with a sample of convicted, adult male sexual offenders...
  30. Motl R, McAuley E, DiStefano C. Is social desirability associated with self-reported physical activity?. Prev Med. 2005;40:735-9 pubmed
    ..activity has been considered to be a socially desirable behavior that might be overreported because of a social desirability bias...
  31. Vanderwal T, Hunyadi E, Grupe D, Connors C, Schultz R. Self, mother and abstract other: an fMRI study of reflective social processing. Neuroimage. 2008;41:1437-46 pubmed publisher
    ..These data suggest that reflective analysis of self, mother and abstract others relies predominantly on the same neural architecture. ..
  32. Webb H, Zimmer Gembeck M, Mastro S. Stress exposure and generation: A conjoint longitudinal model of body dysmorphic symptoms, peer acceptance, popularity, and victimization. Body Image. 2016;18:14-8 pubmed publisher
    ..These results support the hypothesized bidirectional model, whereby adverse social experiences negatively impact symptoms characteristic of BDD over time, and symptoms also exacerbate low perceptions of peer-acceptance. ..
  33. Carlson E, Vazire S, Oltmanns T. You probably think this paper's about you: narcissists' perceptions of their personality and reputation. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2011;101:185-201 pubmed publisher
    ..g., they describe themselves as arrogant). These findings shed light on some of the psychological mechanisms underlying narcissism. ..
  34. Benkert R, Templin T, Schim S, Doorenbos A, Bell S. Testing a multi-group model of culturally competent behaviors among underrepresented nurse practitioners. Res Nurs Health. 2011;34:327-41 pubmed publisher
    ..For unique experiences that contribute to workplace diversity, life experiences with diversity, and diversity training are important for culturally competent behaviors. ..
  35. Yantcheva B, Brindal E. How much does what you eat matter? The potential role of meal size, fat content, and gender on ratings of desirability. Eat Behav. 2013;14:285-90 pubmed publisher
  36. Sallquist J, Didonato M, Hanish L, Martin C, Fabes R. The importance of mutual positive expressivity in social adjustment: understanding the role of peers and gender. Emotion. 2012;12:304-13 pubmed publisher
    ..g., hyperactivity, disruption, exclusion by peers). Children's overall PE did not predict either type of adjustment. Findings support the importance of mutual PE for children's development. ..
  37. Villarruel A, Zhou Y, Gallegos E, Ronis D. Examining long-term effects of Cuídate-a sexual risk reduction program in Mexican youth. Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2010;27:345-51 pubmed
    ..Gender did not moderate any intervention effects. Social desirability moderated the effect of the intervention on age at first sex...
  38. Lazuras L, Barkoukis V, Rodafinos A, Tzorbatzoudis H. Predictors of doping intentions in elite-level athletes: a social cognition approach. J Sport Exerc Psychol. 2010;32:694-710 pubmed
    ..The findings provide the basis for future social cognition research in doping use, and set the framework for the development of evidence-based preventive interventions. ..
  39. Allik J, Realo A, Mõttus R, Borkenau P, Kuppens P, Hrebickova M. How people see others is different from how people see themselves: a replicable pattern across cultures. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2010;99:870-82 pubmed publisher
    ..A relatively strong negative correlation (r = -.53) between the average self-minus-observer profile and social desirability ratings suggests that people in most studied cultures view themselves less favorably than they are ..
  40. Attwood A, Penton Voak I, Goodwin C, Munafo M. Effects of acute nicotine and alcohol on the rating of attractiveness in social smokers and alcohol drinkers. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2012;125:43-8 pubmed publisher
    ..This additive effect may be a mechanism by which administration of one drug reinforces use of the other, and which leads to an increased likelihood of habitual consumption and relapse. ..
  41. Sawada M, Hayama D. Dispositional vengeance and anger on schadenfreude. Psychol Rep. 2012;111:322-34 pubmed
    ..The results indicated that envy and dispositional vengeance were significantly related to scores on the schadenfreude scale, with no gender effect, whereas vengeance was associated with envy only for women. ..
  42. Javo I, Sørlie T. Psychosocial characteristics of young Norwegian women interested in liposuction, breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, and abdominoplasty: a population-based study. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2010;125:1536-43 pubmed publisher
    ..The findings of this study provide increased knowledge about psychosocial factors characterizing women interested in liposuction, breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, and abdominoplasty. ..
  43. Vogt Yuan A. Body perceptions, weight control behavior, and changes in adolescents' psychological well-being over time: a longitudinal examination of gender. J Youth Adolesc. 2010;39:927-39 pubmed publisher
    ..Additionally, trying to lose weight influenced middle adolescent boys and girls. These results imply that body perceptions and behavior disadvantage girls' psychological well-being relative to boys during adolescence. ..
  44. Mandall N, DiBiase A, Littlewood S, Nute S, Stivaros N, McDowall R, et al. Is early Class III protraction facemask treatment effective? A multicentre, randomized, controlled trial: 15-month follow-up. J Orthod. 2010;37:149-61 pubmed publisher
    ..Seventy per cent of patients had successful treatment, defined as achieving a positive overjet. However, early treatment does not seem to confer a clinically significant psychosocial benefit. ..
  45. Javo I, Sørlie T. Psychosocial predictors of an interest in cosmetic surgery among young Norwegian women: a population-based study. Plast Surg Nurs. 2010;30:180-6 pubmed publisher
    ..The results may contribute to a better understanding of the various factors that may motivate an individual to undergo cosmetic surgery. ..
  46. Rothon C, Goodwin L, Stansfeld S. Family social support, community "social capital" and adolescents' mental health and educational outcomes: a longitudinal study in England. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2012;47:697-709 pubmed publisher
    ..79, 95% CI 0.70-0.89). Building social capital in deprived communities may be one way in which both mental health and educational outcomes could be improved. In particular, there is a need to focus on the family as a provider of support. ..
  47. Royal S, Macdonald D, Dionne M. Development and validation of the Fat Talk Questionnaire. Body Image. 2013;10:62-9 pubmed publisher
    ..g., body image) and unrelated (e.g., social desirability) constructs...
  48. Nunes K, Pettersen C. Competitive disadvantage makes attitudes towards rape less negative. Evol Psychol. 2011;9:509-21 pubmed
    ..Future studies using similar experimental manipulations can complement correlational studies and may contribute to greater clarity, precision, and sophistication of research and theory on the role of competitive disadvantage in rape. ..
  49. Yeow P, Yuen Y, Loo W. Ergonomics issues in national identity card for homeland security. Appl Ergon. 2013;44:719-29 pubmed publisher
    ..Results show that perceived credibility and performance expectancy are the key issues. The findings provide many countries with insights into methods of addressing ergonomics issues and increasing adoption of SNIC for homeland security. ..
  50. Schoch A, Raynor H. Social desirability, not dietary restraint, is related to accuracy of reported dietary intake of a laboratory meal in females during a 24-hour recall. Eat Behav. 2012;13:78-81 pubmed publisher
    Underreporting in self-reported dietary intake has been linked to dietary restraint (DR) and social desirability (SD), however few investigations have examined the influence of both DR and SD on reporting accuracy and used objective, ..
  51. Gerbasi M, Prentice D. The Self- and Other-Interest Inventory. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2013;105:495-514 pubmed publisher
  52. Freeman P, Coffee P, Rees T. The PASS-Q: the perceived available support in sport questionnaire. J Sport Exerc Psychol. 2011;33:54-74 pubmed
    ..Researchers are encouraged to use the PASS-Q to examine the effects of perceived available support in sport contexts. ..
  53. Prinstein M, Choukas Bradley S, Helms S, Brechwald W, Rancourt D. High peer popularity longitudinally predicts adolescent health risk behavior, or does it?: an examination of linear and quadratic associations. J Pediatr Psychol. 2011;36:980-90 pubmed publisher
    ..New theoretical models can be useful for understanding the complex manner in which health risk behaviors may be reinforced within the peer context. ..