Paulhus Deception Scales

Purpose:  Designed to measure the tendency to give socially desirable responses to tests.

Population:  Ages 16 years and older.

Scales:  Impression Management, Self-Deceptive Enhancement

Time:  (5-7) minutes.

Author:  Delroy L. Paulhus

Publisher:  Multi-Health Systems Inc

Description:  The Paulhus Deception Scales (PDS), also known as Version 7 of the Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding (BIDR), is a 40 item self-report questionnaire designed to measure the tendency to give socially acceptable or desirable responses (SDR). It evolved from the earlier development and revisions of the BIDR, and measures two distinct forms of SDR; self deception and impression management. According to theories of deception styles, “self-deception” represents an unconscious process to deny psychologically threatening thoughts and feelings reflective of psychoanalytic conflicts, and “other-deception” represents conscious distortion toward self-enhancement.

Scoring:  The two scales of PDS are designed to capture two different styles of responses considered socially desirable. Impression Management (IM) involves conscious use of inflated self-descriptions, faking, or lying, and is thought to indicate hypersensitivity to situational self-presentation demands.  Self-Deceptive Enhancement (SDE) intends to capture the tendency to give honest but inflated self-descriptions reflecting a lack of insight and an unconscious bias toward favorable self-portrayal. Item content of the two subscales was rationally composed to reflect and distinguish the two respective biases in self-report.

Reliability:  Coefficient alpha  for internal reliability for the PDS subscales and the total PDS score were satisfactory for all four samples. The coefficients for the SDE scales ranged from .70-.75 and IM and PDS total coefficients ranged from .81-.86.

Validity:  In factor analysis, the SDE is strongly associated with other factor measures of desirable responding, and IM is grouped with the second factor.    The IM scale correlates highly with a cluster of measures known as lie scales, and role playing measures.  Attempts have been made to tie high SDE subject to narcissism or certain defense mechanisms.   A number of studies of the convergent validity, structural validity, and discriminant validity of the PDS and its subscales were reported in the manual. There is a considerable body of literature using the PDS and the BIDR for clinical and forensic purposes that is not described in the manual, which provides additional confirmation of the value of the PDS as a measure of socially desirable responding. Overall, the studies cited and the validation process meet the psychometric standards for test validation as specified in the Standards for Educational and PsychologicalTesting.

Norms: The PDS was standardized using a large adult sample (n = 441) from the general population, as well as samples from college student, military, and prison populations collected by the author and other researchers using the PDS. Information on the sample demographics and the sampling techniques used are not provided in the test manual and issues of sex or age differences in socially desirable responding are not addressed.

Suggested use: The PDS is useful in identifying individuals who distort their responses and in evaluating the honesty of their responses, as it is administered concurrently with other instruments.  The PDS should be regarded as a valuable tool to be used in any high-demand testing situation as a check on the validity of self-report test responses. However, some concerns have been raised about ongoing controversies in social desirability research and the need for more research to further validate the PDS in forensic and human resources settings. The indications that narcissistic tendencies are associated with a low IM-high SDE profile, or that a "repressor pattern" is associated with a high IM-high SDE profile, remain an empirical question. Nonetheless, the relationship between the various IM-SDE combinations and the respective response and personality styles generates useful and interesting hypotheses to be tested in research and clinical practice.