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What Do Social Desirability Scales Measure? The Association between Social Desirability & Response Styles.
thesisposted on 2023-08-01, 00:00 authored by Evgenia Kapousouz
Public administrators and policymakers rely on self-reported data in order to gauge public opinion and act accordingly. However, survey data are subject to survey errors. One source of error is social desirability responding. Researchers commonly use social desirability scales to exclude respondents from the analysis or identify participants who provide lower quality data. However, because of how these scales are constructed, the measurement of SDR via these scales may also be associated with other response biases such as acquiescence, disacquiescence, and extreme response style. Specifically for extreme response style, I also examine whether different measurement of social desirability affects the association between social desirability and extreme response style. The primary purpose of the dissertation is to investigate whether item-specific response scales reduce the association. Secondary analysis shows that there is an association between social desirability, disacquiescence, and extreme response style. However, different measurement of social desirability decreases the association with extreme response style. Then, I conducted a within-subjects experiment to identify whether item-response option increase data quality. The original response scales yielded results consistent with previous chapters, revealing no association between social desirability and acquiescence, but a significant association between social desirability and both disacquiescence and extreme response style. The association between social desirability, disacquiescence, and extreme response style persisted even with item-specific scales. However, different coding of the scales reduced the association between social desirability and extreme response style.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Illinois at Chicago
Degree namePhD, Doctor of Philosophy
Committee MemberBilgen, Ipek Johnson, Timothy P. Lavrakas, Paul Siciliano, Michael D.
Submitted dateAugust 2023