Martin- Larsen Approval Motivation Scale (MLAMS)

Existing measures of approval motivation attempt to assess this dimension of personality indirectly through evaluation of socially desirable response tendencies. The Martin-Larsen Approval Motivation (MLAM) Scale takes a more direct approach by focusing on individual differences in need for social approval. Since the original version of the MLAM scale is subject to acquiescence response bias, fully balanced and partially balanced scales were created to minimize this response style. Results indicated that the revised measures arc equivalent to the original version and that balancing affects the magnitude but not the pattern of correlates with other scales. Comparisons with the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability (MCSD) Scale revealed a divergent pattern of correlates with several measures of personality suggesting a basic difference between the MLAM and MCSD in their conceptualization of approval motivation.


1. Depending upon the people involved‚ I react to the same situation in different ways.
2. I would rather be myself than be well thought of. (R)*
3. Many times I feel like just flipping a coin in order to decide what I should do.
4. I change my opinion (or the way that I do things) in order to please someone else.*
5. In order to get along and be liked‚ I tend to be what people expect me to be.*
6. I find it difficult to talk about my ideas if they are contrary to group opinion.*
7. One should avoid doing things in public which appear to be wrong to others‚ even though one knows that he is right.
8. Sometimes I feel that I don’t have enough control over the direction that my life is taking.
9. It is better to be humble than assertive when dealing with people.
10.I am willing to argue only if I know that my friends will back me up.*

11.If I hear that someone expresses a poor opinion of me‚ I do my best the next time that I see this person to make a good impression.
12.I seldom feel the need to make excuses or apologize for my behavior. (R)*
13.It is not important to me that I behave ‘properly’ in social situations. (R)*
14.The best way to handle people is to agree with them and tell them what they want to hear.
15.It is hard for me to go on with my work if I am not encouraged to do so.
16.If there is any criticism or anyone says anything about me‚ I can take it. (R)*
17.It is wise to flatter important people.
18.I am careful at parties and social gatherings for fear that I will do or say things that others won’t like.*
19.I usually do not change my position when people disagree with me. (R)*
20.How many friends you have depends on how nice a person you are.
(R) Reverse scored item.
*Items in short form.

1=Disagree Strongly‚ 2=Disagree‚ 3=No Opinion‚ 4=Agree‚ 5=Agree Strongly
This instrument can be found at:

 Martin‚ H.J. (1984). A revised measure of approval motivation and its relationship to social desirability. Journal of Personality Assessment‚ 48: 508-519.

Miller‚ R. S. (1987). The nature of embarrassability: Correlates and sex differences. Unpublished manuscript‚ Sam Houston State of University‚ Huntsville‚ TX.

Wei‚ M.‚ Mallinckrodt‚ B.‚ Larson‚ L. M.‚ & Zakalik‚ R. A. (2005). Adult attachment‚ depressive symptoms‚ and validation from self-versus others. Journal of Counseling Psychology‚ 52: 368-377.

Leary‚ Mark R.‚ Jongman-Sereno‚ Katrina P.‚ and Diebels‚ Kate J. (2015). Measures of Concerns with Public Image and Social Evaluation. in Gregory Boyle‚ Donald H. Saklofske and Gerald Matthews.‚ Measures of Personality and Social Psychological Constructs. Elsevier‚ Pages 448–473