INTRODUCTION: It is usually assumed that social desirability increases with ageing, correlates with measures of emotional well-being, and represents a potential threat to research in older adults, and should therefore be systematically controlled. However, this assumption is controversial and lacks a strong empirical basis. The present study aimed to analyze the association between social desirability and measures of emotional well-being, as well as to test for age-related differences in the changes produced in emotional state after experimental anxiety induction.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We randomly assigned 149 individuals (92 university students and 52 older adults) to one of three groups: a control group and two intervention groups in which anxiety was experimentally induced.
RESULTS: Social desirability scores were significantly higher in older persons (Hedges'g=1.22). No statistically significant correlations were found in any age group between social desirability and measures of emotional well-being. Likewise, in a series of univariate ANOVAs, no differences were found according to the degree of social desirability in changes in emotional state after anxiety induction. Overall, social desirability was not related to the changes produced by experimental anxiety induction.
CONCLUSIONS: The present study confirms the association between social desirability and age. However, social desirability did not seem to correlate with emotional well-being in any age group. Moreover, social desirability was not related to changes in emotional state after experimental anxiety induction. These results do not support the view that social desirability is a threat to the validity of experimental studies in the elderly.
|Translated title of the contribution||Age-related differences in the effect of social desirability on self-reported emotional state|
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Revista Española de Geriatría y Gerontología|
|Early online date||5 Mar 2009|
|Publication status||Published - 10 Mar 2009|
- age factors
- social desirability