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Desirability Judgments and Inventory Responses in the Assessment of Personality USPHS

Messick, Samuel J.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Office of Naval Research, United States Public Health Service (USPHS), Personality Assessment, Personality Measures, Response Style (Tests), Self Evaluation (Individuals), Social Desirability


Ratings of item desirability were correlated with self-appraisal responses to the same items in an attempt to further evaluate the overlap between judgments and responses in reflecting common personality variance. Subjects, 145 male and female undergraduate students, rated the desirability of 54 statements from the Edwards Personal Preference Schedule on a nine-point scale. A few days later, they responded to these items and 100 other items in a self description measure. Results indicated that for the majority of subjects, judgments of desirability are directly and strongly related to self description. However, for some subjects, there is little relation or a negative relation. This difference appears to be partly a function of general desirability responding and defensive postures. The results may be useful in moderating interpretations of desirability judgments as measures of personality.

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