Privacy is an important feature of the interview interaction mainly due to its potential effect on reporting information, especially sensitive information. Here we examine the effect of third-party presence on reporting both sensitive and relatively neutral outcomes. We investigate whether the effect of third-party presence on reporting sensitive information is moderated by the respondent’s need for social conformity and the respondent’s country of residence. Three types of outcomes are investigated: behavioral, attitudinal, and relatively neutral health events. Using data from 22,070 interviews and nine countries in the cross-national World Mental Health Survey Initiative, we fit multilevel logistic regression to study reporting effects on questions about suicidal behavior and marital ratings, and contrast these with questions about having high blood pressure, asthma, or arthritis. We find that there is an effect of third-party presence on reporting sensitive information and no effect on reporting of neutral information. Further, the effect of the interview privacy setting on reporting sensitive information is moderated by the need for social conformity and the cultural setting.
If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.
Anderson, B.A. and B.D. Silver. 1987. “The Validity of Survey Response: Insights from Interviews of Married Couples in a Survey of Soviet Emigrants.” Social Forces 66: 537–554. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/sf/66.2.537.
Aquilino, W. 1993. “Effects of Spouse Presence During the Interview on Survey Responses Concerning Marriage.” Public Opinion Quarterly 57: 358–376.
Aquilino, W. 1997. “Privacy on Self-Reported Drug Use: Interactions with Survey Mode and Respondent Characteristics.” In The Validity of Self-Reported Drug Use: Improving the Accuracy of Survey Estimates (National Institute on Drug Abuse, Monograph 167), edited by L. Harrison and A. Hughes, pages 383–415. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, and National Institute on Drug Abuse, Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research.
Aquilino, W.S., D.L. Wright, and A.J. Supple. 2000. “Response Effects Due to Bystander Presence in CASI and Paper-and-Pencil Surveys of Drug Use and Alcohol Use.” Substance Use and Misuse 35: 845–867. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/10826080009148424.
Bernardi, R.A. 2006. “Association Between Hofstede’s Cultural Constructs and Social Desirability Response Bias.” Journal of Business Ethics 65: 43–53. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10551-005-5353-0.
Berscheid, E. and H.T. Reis. 1998. “Attractions and Close Relationships.” In The Handbook of Social Psychology, edited by D.T. Gilbert, S.T. Fiske, and L. Gardner, pages 193–281. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Bond, R. and P.B. Smith. 1996. “Culture and Conformity: A Meta-Analysis of Studies Using Asch’s (1952b, 1956) Line Judgment Task.” Psychological Bulletin 119: 111–137. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.119.1.111.
Cialdini, R.B. and N.J. Goldstein. 2004. “Social Influence: Compliance and Conformity.” Annual Review of Psychology 55: 591–621.
Casterline, J. and V.C. Chidambaram. 1984. “The Presence of Others During the Interview and the Reporting of Contraceptive Knowledge and Use.” In Survey Analysis for the Guidance of Family Planning Programs, edited by J. A. Ross and R. McNamara, 267–298. Liege: Ordina Editions.
Cahucahrd, S. 2013. “Using MP3 Players in Surveys: The Impact of a Low-tech Self-Administration Mode on Misreporting and Bystanders’ Influence.” Public Opinion Quarterly 77: 220–231. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/poq/nfs060.
Couper, M.P., E. Singer, and R. Tourangeau. 2003. “Understanding the Effects of Audio-CASI on Self-Reports of Sensitive Behavior.” Public Opinion Quarterly 67: 385–395.
Crowne, D.P. and D. Marlowe. 1960. “A New Scale of Social Desirability Independent of Psychopathology.” Journal of Consulting Psychology 24: 349–354. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/h0047358.
Fitzsimons, G.M. and J.A. Bargh. 2003. “Thinking of You: Nonconscious Pursuit of Interpersonal Goals Associated with Relationship Partners.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 84: 148–164. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-35188.8.131.52.
Gfroerer, J. 1985. “Influence of Privacy on Self-Reported Drug Use by Youths.” In Self-Report Methods of Estimating Drug Use: Meeting Current Challenges to Validity, edited by B.A. Rouse, N.J. Kozel, and L.G. Richards, pages 22–30. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration, and National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Harkness, J., B. Pennell, A. Villar, N. Gebler, S. Auilar-Gaxiola, and I. Bilgen. 2008. “Translation Procedures and Translation Assessment in the World Mental Health Survey Initiative.” In The WHO World Mental Health Surveys: Global Perspectives on the Epidemiology of Mental Disorders, edited by R.C. Kessler and T.B.Üstün, pages 91–113. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Heeringa, S.G., J.E. Wells, F. Hubbard, Z.N. Mneimneh, W. Chiu, N.A. Sampson, and P.A. Berglund. 2008. “Sample Designs and Sampling Procedures.” In The WHO World Mental Health Surveys: Global Perspectives on the Epidemiology of Mental Disorders, edited by R.C. Kessler and T.B.Üstün, pages 14–32. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Hofstede, G., G.J. Hofstede, and M. Minkov. 2010. Culture and Organizations: Software of the Mind, 3rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Hoyt, G.M. and F.J. Chaloupka. 1994. “Effect of Survey Conditions on Self-Reported Substance Use.” Contemporary Economic Policy 7: 109–121. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1465-7287.1994.tb00439.x.
Ingelhart, R. and W.E. Baker. 2000. “Modernization, Cultural Change, and the Persistence of Traditional Values.” American Sociological Review 65: 19–51.
Johnson, T.P. and F.J.R. van de Vijver. 2003. “Social Desirability in Cross-Cultural Research.” In Cross-Cultural Survey Methods, edited by J.A. Harkness, F.J.R. van de Vijer, and P.P. Mohler, pages 195–206. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Kessler, R.C., J. Abelson, O. Demler, J.I. Escobar, M. Gibbon, M.E. Guyer, M.J. Howes, R. Jin, W.A., Vega, E.E. Walters, P. Wang, A. Zaslavsky, and H. Zheng. 2004. “Clinical Calibration of DSM-IV Diagnoses in the World Mental Health (WMH) Version of the World Health Organization (WHO) Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).” International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research 13: 122–139. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mpr.169.
Kessler, R.C. and T.B.Üstün. 2004. “The World Mental Health (WMH) Survey Initiative version of the World Health Organization (WHO) Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).” International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research 13: 93–121.
Lalwani, A.K., S. Shavitt, and T. Johnson. 2006. “What is the Relation Between Cultural Orientation and Socially Desirable Responding?” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 90: 165–178. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-35184.108.40.206.
Moretti, M.M. and E.T. Higgins. 1999. “Internal Representations of Others in Self-Regulations: A New Look at a Classic Issue.” Social Cognition 17: 186–208. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1521/soco.19220.127.116.11.
Mneimneh, Z.N. 2012. “Interview Privacy and Social Conformity Effects on Socially Desirable Reporting Behavior: Importance of Cultural, Individual, Question Design and Implementation Factors.” Available at: http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/handle/2027.42/96051
Moskowitz, J.M. 2004. “Assessment of Cigarette Smoking and Smoking Susceptibility Among Youth: Telephone Computer-Assisted Self-Interviews Versus Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviews.” Public Opinion Quarterly 68: 565–587. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/poq/nfh040.
Paulhus, D.L. 1984. “Two-Component Models for Socially Desirable Responding.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 46: 598–609. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3518.104.22.1688.
Pennell, B., Z.N. Mneimneh, A. Bowers, S. Chardoul, J.E. Wells, M.C. Viana, K. Dinkelmann, N. Gebler, S. Florescu, Y. He, Y. Huang, T. Toma, and G.V. Saiz. 2008. “Implementation of the World Mental Health Surveys.” In The WHO World Mental Health Surveys: Global Perspectives on the Epidemiology of Mental Disorders, edited by R.C. Kessler and T.B.Üstün, pages 33–57. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Pennell, B., J.A. Harkness, R. Levenstein, and M. Quaglia. 2010. “Challenges in Cross-National Data Collection.” In Survey Methods in Multinational, Multiregional, Multicultural Contexts, edited by J.A. Harkness, M. Braun, B. Edwards, T.P. Johnson, L. Lyberg, P. Mohler, B. Pennell, and T.W. Smith, pages 269–298. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Podmore, D., D. Chaney, and P. Golder. 1975. “Third Parties in the Interview Situation: Evidence from Hong Kong.” The Journal of Social Psychology 95: 227–231. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00224545.1975.9918708.
Pollner, M. and R.E. Adams. 1994. “The Interpersonal Context of Mental Health Interviews.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 35: 283–290.
Pollner, M. and R.E. Adams. 1997. “The Effect of Spouse Presence on Appraisals of Emotional Support and Household Strain.” Public Opinion Quarterly 61: 615–626. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/297820.
Schwartz, S.H., A. Bardi, and G. Bianchi. 2000. “Value Adaptation to the Imposition and Collapse of Communist Regimes in East-central Europe.” In Political Psychology: Cultural and Cross-cultural Foundations, edited by S.A. Renshon and J. Duckitt, pages 217–237. London: Macmillan.
Shah, J. 2003. “Automatic for the People: How Representations of Significant Others Implicitly Affect Goal Pursuit.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 84: 661–681. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3522.214.171.1241.
Smith, P.B., M.H. Bond, and Ç. Kağıtçıbaşı. 2006. Understanding Social Psychology Across Cultures: Living and Working in a Changing World. London: Sage Publications.
Smith, T.W. 1997. “The Impact of the Presence of Others on a Respondent’s Answers to Questions.” International Journal of Public Opinion Research 9: 33–47. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ijpor/9.1.33.
Ting-Toomey, S. 1999. Communicating Across Cultures. New York: Guilford Press.
Tourangeau, R. and T. Yan. 2007. “Sensitive Questions in Surveys.” Psychological Bulletin 133: 859–883. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.133.5.859.
Triandis, H.C. 1989. “The Self and Social Behaviour in Differing Cultural Contexts.” Psychological Review 96: 506–520. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.96.3.506.
Triandis, H.C. 1995. Individualism and Collectivism. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Van de Vijver, F.J.R. 2003. “Bias and Equivalence: Cross-Cultural Perspectives.” In Cross-cultural Survey Methods, edited by J.A. Harkness, F.J. R. van de Vijver, and P.P. Mohler, pages 143–156. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Van Hemert, D.A., F.J.R. van de Vijver, Y.H. Poortinga, and J. Georgas. 2002. “Structural and Functional Equivalence of the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire Within and Between Countries.” Personality and Individual Differences 33: 1229–1249. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0191-8869(02)00007-7.
Welkenhuysen-Gybels, J. and J. Billiet. 2001. “The Impact of Third Party Presence in Survey Interviews on the Measurement of Political Knowledge.” Acta Politica 36: 287–306.