Self-report measures of psychological states are commonly used in sport psychology research and practice, yet the possibility of response bias due to social desirability (repressive defensiveness) often has been overlooked. The present study was designed to examine whether or not a significant relationship exists between social desirability and competitive trait anxiety and the CSAI-2 subscales measuring state somatic anxiety, cognitive anxiety, and self-confidence. The participants were 58 female collegiate golfers representing 13 NCAA Division I universities. Pearson product-moment correlations indicated that competitive trait anxiety (−.24), self-confidence (.45, .38), and cognitive anxiety (−.24) appeared to be influenced by social desirability distortion. If the present findings are replicated in future studies using the SCAT, CSAI-2, and other inventories, the field of sport psychology may need to reexamine some of the theoretical and application conclusions drawn from previous research in which no attempt was made to eliminate data from subjects who may have distorted their responses.
Jean M. Williams is with the Exercise & Sport Sciences Department at the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721. Vikki Krane is a graduate student with the Department of Physical Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27412.