Item format and social desirability: implications for interpretation of the MBTI

Helmes, Edward, Schermer, Julie Aitken, and Fraboni, Maryann (2012) Item format and social desirability: implications for interpretation of the MBTI. Psychology Research, 2 (6). pp. 361-368.

[img] PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

View at Publisher Website:


The MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) remains widely used in many counseling applications despite extensive criticism of its basic nature and psychometric properties. The present study was designed to examine specifically the accuracy of the claimed minimal influence of social desirability on Form G of the MBTI. Undergraduate students (n = 26) judged the desirability of each item option of Form G, which was compared across the 60 item pairs in which both options were scored. The rated values were approximately equal for two domains, while J and E item options were judged to be more desirable than their P and I paired response options. A second study (n = 52) evaluated the social desirability of the 16 MBTI type descriptors, finding most descriptions to be above the neutral range in desirability. These results suggest that stylistic responding contaminates MBTI profiles and interpretative material. Consequently, users should consider alternative measures and at the very least, take great care in interpreting the MBTI because of its flawed structure.

Item ID: 23420
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2159-5542
Keywords: social desirability, MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), test construction, personality, personality assessment
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2012 05:08
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170110 Psychological Methodology, Design and Analysis @ 35%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170109 Personality, Abilities and Assessment @ 65%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920401 Behaviour and Health @ 100%
Downloads: Total: 4
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page