Struggling to be liked: The prospective effect of trait self‐control on social desirability and the moderating role of agreeableness

Olga Stavrova, Michail D. Kokkoris
Published Online:
13 Jul 2017
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 54 Issue 2

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Abstract Drawing from the literature on the interpersonal functions of self‐control, we examined longitudinal associations between trait self‐control and social desirability, using a survey of the general population in the Netherlands. Trait self‐control at baseline was positively associated with social desirability at a follow‐up, even when controlling for prior levels of social desirability. That is, high self‐control contributed to individuals' tendency to give socially desirable responses in self‐reports. This effect was moderated by individual differences in agreeableness. Highly agreeable individuals were more likely to “use” their self‐regulatory resources to respond in a socially desirable manner, compared to less agreeable individuals, suggesting that individuals might use self‐regulatory resources in a way consistent with the motivational bases of their personality.

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