Sex Roles

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 29-42

First online:

Gender and response effects in telephone interviews about gender characteristics

  • Lloyd B. LueptowAffiliated withUniversity of Akron
  • , Susan L. MoserAffiliated withUniversity of Akron
  • , Brian F. PendletonAffiliated withUniversity of Akron

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This study investigates the effect of gender on responses to questions about sex role orientations. Literature on gender effects in survey interviews, job interviews and counseling studies, and experiments leads to hypotheses that male interviewers will elicit more response effects than female interviewers, especially from females; that female respondents will show desirability effects more than males; and that respondents, especially female respondents, will disclose liberal orientations more to female than to male interviewers. Findings show that male interviewers do not elicit more response effects, especially among females, and there seem to be desirability effects operating instead of conformity effects, especially for female interviewers. Females, and low-power, highly educated males exhibit more liberal responses to female interviewers. This study demonstrates that in areas where interviewer—respondent question content is related to salient dimensions, response effects are observed and constitute potentially damaging sources of error.