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The stability of social desirability judgments in relation to items on Edwards' personal preference schedule. Diers, Carol Jean

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the stability of the social desirability scale values used by Edwards in the construction of his Personal Preference Schedule (PPS). The specific hypotheses were: (a) The social desirability scale values determined for University of British Columbia students, Hungarian university students and Canadian female delinquents will correlate significantly with Edwards’ scale values determined on American college students; and (b) The social desirability scale values derived for these three groups, together with Edwards' scale data and the scale values derived on five other groups will all intercorrelate significantly. This hypothesis specifies that a common stereotype of what is socially desirable and undesirable will persist throughout the various groups. Two additional problems were also investigated, namely, the extent to which the item pairs on the PPS were matched for social desirability for the groups tested, and how these three groups, together with Edwards' American sample, differed when the items on the PPS were grouped into the manifest needs that they purport to assess. In order to investigate the hypotheses and problems, social desirability ratings were obtained from 226 University of British Columbia students, 70 male Hungarian university students and 40 female delinquents. The items rated for social desirability were those contained in the PPS. The obtained ratings were scaled by the method of successive intervals. All Intercorrelations were significant at the .01 level. Thus the two hypotheses were supported, suggesting that a common attitude of what is desirable and undesirable cuts across many different groups. The results of the intraclass correlations for matched pairs on the PPS suggested that the PPS would control for the social desirability variable on a group of UBC students, but not for the Hungarians or delinquents. Analysis of variance techniques employed on the PPS items grouped in terms of the needs they measured indicated highly reliable group differences. The Canadian and American university students showed no significant differences in their need ratings. Compared with the American and Canadian students, the Hungarians appeared to evaluate positively the needs of order and aggression and to underevaluate the need for affiliation, and, comparatively, the delinquent group rated highly the needs of autonomy, change, heterosexuality and aggression and underrated the needs of achievement, order, introception and endurance. It was emphasized that it could not be assumed that a group possessed to a strong degree those needs to which they give high social desirability ratings.

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