Sex differences in reporting sensitive behavior: A comparison of interview methods
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
While telephone surveys generally are considered to be comparable to in-person interviews for the collection of survey data, their utility for the acquisition of sensitive information from respondents remains in question. This paper examines the effect of interview method upon self-reports of a threatening topic—substance use—for male and female college students. It is hypothesized that males may be less likely to admit sensitive behaviors in telephone interviews, compared to face-to-face encounters, due to an interaction of a characteristic of the telephone medium (i.e., the lack of balanced exchange of identifying information between the interviewer and respondent) and aspects of the male sex role, which discourages self-revelation. Findings indicate that differences in reported use of both legal and illegal substances by interview method were greater among males than females. These gender differences in reporting behavior by survey method remained after statistical controls were applied.
- Afifi, A. A., & Clark, V. (1984). Computer-Aided Multivariate Analysis. Belmont, CA: Lifetime Learning Publications.
- Aneshensel, C. S., Frerichs, R. R., Clark, V. A., & Yokopenic, P. A. (1982a). Telephone versus in-person surveys of community health status. American Journal of Public Health, 72, 1017–1021.
- Aneshensel, C. S., Frerichs, R. R., Clark, V. A., & Yokopenic, P. A. (1982b). Measuring depression in the community: A comparison of telephone and personal interviews. Public Opinion Quarterly, 46, 110–121.
- Aquilino, W. S., & LoSciuto, L. A. (1989). Effects of interview made on the validity of drug use surveys. In F. J. Fowler (Ed.), Health survey research methods, Conference Proceedings, DHHS Pub. No. (PHS) 89-3447. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
- Bradburn, N. M. (1983). Response effects. In P. H. Rossi, J. D., Right, & A. B. Anderson, (Eds.), Handbook of survey research. Orlando, FL: Academic Press.
- Bradburn, N. M., & Sudman, S. (1979). Improving interview method and questionnaire design: Response effects to threatening questions in survey research. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
- Bradburn, N. M., Sudman, S., Blair, E., & Stoching, C. (1970). Question threat and response bias. Public Opinion Quarterly, 42, 221–234.
- Cahalan, D. (1968). Correlates of respondent accuracy in the Denver Validity Survey. Public Opinion Quarterly, 32, 607–621.
- Clayton, R. R., Voss, H. L., Robbins, C., & Skinner, W. F. (1986). Gender differences in drug use: An epidemiological perspective. In B. A. Ray & M. C. Brande (Eds.), Women and drugs: A new ERA for research, National Institute of Drug Abuse Research Monograph Series 65, DHHS Pub. No. (ADM) 87-1447. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
- Colombotos, J. (1969). Personal versus telephone interviews: Effect on responses. Public Health Reports, 84, 773–782.
- Cozby, P. C. (1973). Self-disclosure: A literature review. Psychological Bulletin, 79, 73–91.
- Czaja, R. (1987–88). Asking sensitive behavioral questions in telephone interviews. International Quarterly of Community Health Education, 8, 23–32.
- Frank, B. (1985). Telephone surveying for drug abuse: Methodological issues and an application. In B. A. Rouse, Kozel, N. J., & L. G. Richards (Eds.), Self-report methods of estimating drug use: Meeting current challenges to validity, National Institute Drug Abuse Research Monograph Series 57, DHHS Pub. No. (ADM) 85-1402. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
- Frey, J. H. (1983). Survey research by telephone. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
- Groves, R. M. (1989). Survey errors and survey costs. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
- Groves, R. M., & Kahn, R. L. (1979). Surveys by telephone: A National comparison with personal interviews. New York: Academic Press.
- Hill, C. T., & Stull, D. E. (1987). Gender and self-disclosure: Strategies for exploring the issues. In V. J. Derlega, J. H. Berg (Eds.), Self disclosure: Theory, research, and therapy. New York: Plenum Press.
- Homans, G. C. (1961). Social behavior: Its elementary forms. New York: Harcourt.
- Jabine, T. B., Straf, M. L., Tanur, J. M., & Tourangeau, R. (1984). Cognitive aspects of survey methodology: Building a bridge between disciplines. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
- Janovsky, I. (1971). Affective self-disclosure in telephone versus face-to-face interviews. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 1, 93–103.
- Jessor, R. T. (1979). Marijuana: A review of recent psychosocial research. In R. Dupont, A. Goldstein, & J. O'Donnel (Eds.), Handbook on drug abuse, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
- Johnson, T. P., Hougland, J. G., & Clayton, R. R. (1989). Obtaining reports of sensitive behavior: A comparison of substance-use reports from telephone and face-to-face interviews. Social Science Quarterly, 70, 174–183.
- Jordan, L. A., Marcus, A. C., & Reeder, L. G. (1980). Response styles in telephone and household interviews: A field experiment. Public Opinion Quarterly, 44, 210–222.
- Jourard, S. M. (1971). Self disclosure: An experimental analysis of the transparent self. New York: Wiley—Interscience.
- Kandel, D. B. (1980). Drug and drinking behavior among youth. Annual Review of Sociology, 6, 235–285.
- Kaplan, H. B., Martin, S. S., Johnson, R. J., & Raffin, C. A. (1986). Escalation of marijuana use: Application of general theory of deviation behavior. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 27, 44–61.
- Klecka, W. R., & Tuchfarber, A. J. (1978). Random digit dialing: A comparison to personal surveys. Public Opinion Quarterly, 42, 105–114.
- Mangione, T. W., Hingson, R., & Barrett, J. (1982). Collecting sensitive data: A comparison of three survey strategies. Sociological Methods and Research, 10, 337–346.
- Martin, E. (1983). Surveys as social indicators: problems in monitoring trends. In: P. H. Rossi, J. D. Wright, & A. B. Anderson (Eds.), Handbook of survey research. Orlando, FL: Academic Press.
- Mellinger, G. D., Balter, M. B., Manheimer, D. I., Cisin, I. H., & Perry, H. J. (1978). Psychic distress, life crisis, and use of psychotherapeutic medications. Archives of General Psychiatry, 35, 1045–1052.
- Miller, J. D., Cisin, I. H., Gardner, Keaton, H., Harrell, A. V., Wirtz, P. W., Abelson, H. I., & Fishburne, P. M. (1983). National survey of drug abuse: Main findings 1982, DHHS Pub. No. (ADM) 83-1263, Public Health Service. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
- Murphy, P. A., & Binson, D. (1988). Who says “no” to whom: Respondent-interviewer interaction in refusal to sensitive questions. Paper presented at annual meeting of American Association for Public Option Research, Toronto.
- Murray, D. M., & Perry, C. L. (1985). The prevention of adolescent drug abuse: Implications of etiological, developmental, behavioral and environmental models. In C. L. James, R. J. Battjes (Eds.), Etiology of drug abuse: Implications for prevention, National Institute of Drug Abuse Research Monograph Series 56, DHHS Pub. No. (ADM) 87-1335. Washington DC: U.S. government Printing Office.
- Pleck, J. H. (1976). The male sex role: Definitions, problems, and sources of change. Journal of Social Issues, 32, 155–164.
- Rogers, T. F. (1976). Interviews by telephone and in person: Quality of responses and field performance. Public Opinion Quarterly, 40, 51–65.
- Snell, W. E., Belk, S. S., & Hawkins, R. C. (1987). Alcohol and drug use in stressful times: The influence of the masculine role and sex-related personality attributes. Sex Roles, 16, 359–373.
- Suchman, E. A. (1968). The “Hang-loose” ethic and the spirit of drug use. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 9, 146–155.
- Suffett, F., & Brotman, R. (1976). Female drug use: Some observations. International Journal of the Additions, 11, 19–33.
- Sykes, W., & Collins, M. (1988). Effects of model of interview: Experiments in the U.S. In R. M. Groves, P. P. Biemer, L. E. Lyberg, J. T. Massey, W. L. Nicholls, & J. Wansberg (Eds.), Telephone survey methodology. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
- Thornberry, O. T. (1987). An experimental comparison of telephone and personal health interview surveys, Data Evaluation and Methods Research Series 2, No. 106, DHHS Pub. No. (PHS) 87-1380, Public Health Service. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.
- Waltman, H. F., Turner, A. G., & Bushery, J. M. (1980). A comparison of three mixed-mode interviewing procedures in the National Crime Survey. Jouranl of the American Statistical Association, 75, 534–543.
- Weeks, M. F., Kulka, R. A., Lessler, J. T., & Whitmore, R. W. (1983). Personal versus telephone surveys for collecting household health data at the local level. American Journal of Public Health, 73, 1389–1394.
- Wister, A. V., & Avison, W. R. (1982). ‘Friendly persuasion’: A social network analysis or sex differences in marijuana use.” International Journal of the Addictions, 17, 523–541.
- Sex differences in reporting sensitive behavior: A comparison of interview methods
Volume 24, Issue 11-12 , pp 669-680
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
- Additional Links
- Industry Sectors