Associations of Social Desirability on Psychological Assessment Outcomes for Surgical Weight Loss Patients

Melissa Butt, Allison Wagner, Andrea Rigby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Literature regarding mental health and quality of life (QOL) in bariatric patients has reported high occurrence of psychological disturbance and suggested that patients may provide socially desirable responses during pre-surgical assessments in order to minimize the apparent presence of psychological disturbance. We sought to evaluate the associations between socially desirable responding and clinical outcomes of significance and to compare self-reported psychopathology with clinically evaluated diagnoses. Data were retrospectively analyzed for patients undergoing bariatric surgery at one academic medical center. Cross-sectional self-report measures were given to patients prior to surgery. Measures assessed psychopathology, disordered eating, quality of life, and social desirability. Statistical methods included descriptive statistics, correlations and building of univariate linear regression models. Patient psychopathology, disordered eating, and QOL self-report scores were all significantly related to social desirability. Rates of psychopathology were underreported using self-report measures when compared to clinical evaluations by a licensed psychologist. Socially desirable responding may have a significant effect on preoperative assessment of psychopathology and disordered eating of patients preparing for surgical weight loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)384-393
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology


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