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Socially desirable responding: enhancement and denial in 20 countries

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

  • J. He
  • F. J. R. Van De Vijver
  • A. Dominguez Espinosa
  • R. Dimitrova
  • B. G. Adams
  • A. Aydinli
  • K. Atitsogbe
  • I. Alonso-arbiol
  • M. Bobowik
  • R. Fischer
  • V. Jordanov
  • S. Mastrotheodoros
  • F. Neto
  • Y. J. Ponizovsky
  • J. Reb
  • S. Sim
  • L. Sovet
  • D. Stefenel
  • A. O. Suryani
  • E. Tair
  • A. Villieux
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>25/05/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Cross-Cultural Research
Issue number3
Number of pages23
Pages (from-to)227-249
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date29/09/14
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article investigated the dimensionality, measurement invariance, and cross-cultural variations of social desirability. A total of 3,471 university students from 20 countries completed an adapted version of the Marlowe–Crowne scale. A two-dimensional structure was revealed in the pooled sample, distinguishing enhancement (endorsement of positive self-description) and denial (rejection of negative self-description). The factor structure was supported in most countries; medium-sized item bias was found in two denial items. In a multilevel analysis, we found that (a) there was more cross-cultural variation in denial than enhancement; (b) females tended to score higher on enhancement whereas males tended to score higher on denial; (c) the Human Development Index, an indicator of country socioeconomic development, was the best (negative) predictor of denial; and (d) both enhancement and denial seemed to be associated with country-level values and personality pertinent to “fitting in.” We conclude that social desirability has a positive and a negative impression management dimension that are meaningfully associated with country-level characteristics, and we argue that social desirability is better interpreted as culturally regulated response amplification.