Impression management in predicting social stress and adaptive work behaviors

Siyuan GUO, Yanping LIU, Yiheng WANG, Man Wai LI, Ding‐Guo GAO

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Impression management (IM) in the personnel selection context is traditionally seen as a dishonest response distortion that indicates maladaptive coping. However, it has recently been proposed as a personality trait that relates to better mental health and work performance. In the current investigation, we examined the role of IM in buffering depression-related social stress and predicting individual's adaptive work behaviors. Through 3 studies in a large sample (N = 2,317) in a real postgraduate enrollment context and 1 follow-up study, we found that IM moderated the associations of depression with 2 stressors related to lack of tangible and intangible stress-coping resources. The associations of depression with social support and socioeconomic status were weaker among individuals with higher IM tendency (Study 1). IM also predicted more perseverance in solving highly difficult problems (Study 2) and enduring boredom (Study 3), which was thought to be adaptive and crucial in achieving occupational success. Furthermore, we also showed that IM in the selection context predicted better adjustment and performance in real academic life after the enrollment (Study 4). These findings demonstrate the positive role of IM in making inferences about applicants' mental health and potential work performances, which is the top issue in personnel selection practices. Copyright © 2019 American Psychological Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-329
JournalInternational Journal of Stress Management
Issue number4
Early online date19 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


Guo, S., Liu, Y., Wang, Y., Li, L. M. W., & Gao, D.-G. (2019). Impression management in predicting social stress and adaptive work behaviors. International Journal of Stress Management, 29(4), 319-329. doi: 10.1037/str0000143


  • Adaptation
  • Depression
  • Impression management
  • Personnel selection
  • Stress


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