A bias of self‐reports among repressors: Examining the evidence for the validity of self‐relevant and health‐relevant personal reports

Zoha Saeedi1 , Nima Ghorbani1 , Mahdi R. Sarafraz2 , and Tahereh Karami Shoar1

1 Department of Psychology, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
2 Department of Psychology, University of Shiraz, Shiraz, Iran

Abstract

Studies have shown that repressors tend to respond to self‐report tools in a positive fashion which distorts the findings of studies based on questionnaires. The present study aimed to examine the way repressors respond to “Self‐relevant” scales (which assess variables related to adaptive self‐function) in comparison to “Health‐relevant” scales (which assess physical and psychological health). Iranian university students (N = 271) responded to the Weinberger Adjustment Inventory (to differentiate between repressors and self‐assured individuals), Mindful Attention and Awareness Scale, Self‐control Scale, Integrative Self‐knowledge Scale and Self‐compassion Scale (to measure self‐relevant variables), Bartone Symptoms checklist and the Depression and Anxiety Subscales of Depression, Anxiety and Stress Subscale (DASS‐21) (to measure health‐relevant variables). Based on responses to the Weinberger Adjustment Inventory, 101 participants fell into two groups, including repressors and self‐assured individuals, and their data were further analysed. Multivariate analysis of variance showed no difference in repressors’ scores in health‐relevant scales compared to the self‐assured group (healthy individuals), but they reported higher scores in adaptive self‐relevant scales compared to the self‐assured individuals. This study provides new evidence that compared to self‐assured individuals, repressors differ in the way they respond to self‐relevant versus health‐relevant scales.

Keywords: Repression; Self-relevant; Health-relevant; Positive self-evaluation; Weinberger adjustment inventory.