Social Indicators Research

, Volume 123, Issue 3, pp 733–751 | Cite as

Attitudes Towards Gender Roles in Cross-Cultural Surveys: Content Validity and Cross-Cultural Measurement Invariance

  • Andreea ConstantinEmail author
  • Malina Voicu


Measuring attitudes towards gender roles in comparative research is a challenging task. This paper aims at assessing the content validity and cross-cultural measurement invariance of the scales measuring attitudes towards gender roles in two large-scale comparative surveys, the International Social Survey Program 2002 and the World Values Survey 2005. The two scales are widely used in cross-cultural studies, they complement each other in measuring the complex concept of attitudes towards gender roles, and they cover an extensive number of European and non-European countries, allowing for the assessment of measurement invariance in different cultural settings. We assess the content by confronting the items included in the two surveys with the theoretical definitions employed by the literature, and we test for the cross-cultural measurement invariance by multigroup confirmatory factor analysis. According to our results, these scales are only partially valid in measuring the complex concept of attitudes towards gender roles. Moreover, the two scales are configural and metric invariant in all countries included in our analysis, but they are not scalar invariant. The two scales are suitable for testing relations between attitudes towards gender roles and other theoretically relevant concepts, but they are not useful for comparing the level of support for gender equality across countries.


Gender roles Social attitudes Content validity Multigroup confirmatory factor analysis International social survey program (ISSP) World values survey (WVS) 



An earlier version of this article was presented at The Second International Sociological Association Forum of Sociology, Buenos Aires, 01-04.08 2012. We are indebted to Professor Hans-Jürgen Andreß, Paula Tufiş, Bogdan Voicu, and to the Social Indicators Research’s anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on this paper. Both authors have equally contributed to this paper.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Training Group SOCLIFEUniversity of CologneCologneGermany
  2. 2.GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social SciencesCologneGermany

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