Favorable self-presentation on psychological inventories: An analysis

Richard I. Lanyon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Favorable self-presentation (a term used somewhat interchangeably in the literature with socially desirable responding, faking good, and under-reporting) refers to a heterogeneous area with several identifiable facets. The most readily defined facet refers to claims of extreme virtue. Another facet appears to represent the simple under-reporting or denial of psychopathology, and probably claims of superior adjustment, although no literature has studied whether these might be the same facet. A third facet, involving claims of personal superiority, has been termed self-deceptive positivity. When these facets are carefully defined, they appear to be relatively independent. Analysis of the item content of the scales most commonly used to assess favorable self-presentation shows that they are heterogeneous in content, but tend to primarily represent one or other of these three facets. Simulation studies have tended to use broad instructions involving socially desirable responding, and have thus encompassed all of the facets. It would be expected that larger effect sizes in the assessment of favorable self-presentation (and greater specificity in clinical practice) could be achieved by utilizing carefully constructed measures that represent a single facet in the context of simulation instructions that focus on that particular facet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-65
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Forensic Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 27 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Applied Psychology


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