Stöber, J. and Wolfradt, U.
Worry and social desirability: Opposite relationships for socio-political and social-evaluation worries.
Personality and Individual Differences, 31
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The present article investigates the relationship between social desirability and worry. In particular, it addresses the question of whether socio-political worries (i.e. worries about societal or environmental problems) show a different relationship with social desirability than worries related to one's social-evaluative self-concept (i.e. worries about one's own relationships, future, work, or finances). A sample of 155 students responded to self-report questionnaires on worry and social desirability, first under standard instructions and then under social desirability-provoking instructions (imaginary job-application instructions). As expected, results showed opposite relationships for socio-political and social-evaluation worries. First, socio-political worries showed positive correlations with scores from the social desirability questionnaire, whereas social-evaluation worries showed negative correlations. Second, endorsements of socio-political worries increased under social desirability-provoking instructions, whereas those of social-evaluation worries decreased. However, all correlations between self-reported worry and social-desirability scores were rather small. Moreover, in absolute terms, socio-political worries did not show any greater social-desirability bias than social-evaluation worries. Implications for self-report measures of socio-political worries (e.g. environmental worry, worry about technological risks) and directions for future research are discussed.
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