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Effects of Social Desirability Bias on Self-Report and Non Self-Report Assessments During Smoking Cessation

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Technical Report

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Uniformed Services University Of The Health Sciences Bethesda United States

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Social desirability response bias SDR is the tendency of respondents to respond in a way that will be viewed favorably by others. Little research has examined the effect of SDR in the context of cigarette smoking cessation. Adult smokers were recruited for smoking cessation treatment. They completed self-report, biological, and implicit attitude measures. SDR scores, assessed using the Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding Paulus, 1991, were dichotomized by median split into LOW 0-12 and HIGH 13. Compared to LOW participants, HIGH participants reported lower levels of cigarette craving and more negative attitudes toward smoking. The groups did not exhibit different implicit attitudes toward smoking. Averaged over sessions, the correlation between self-reported and implicit attitudes toward smoking was significant in LOW participants only. In sum, SDR may affect responses on some self-report measures used in smoking cessation research, suggesting that researchers should rely more on biological or implicit methods of assessment.

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