Studying the Context Effect of Family Norms on Gender Role Attitudes: an Experimental Design

Keywords: gender role attitudes, context effect, CRONOS, survey experiment, family norms, validity, measurement quality

Abstract

The measurement of gender role attitudes has been found to be problematic in previous studies, especially in comparative perspective. The present study adopts a novel approach and investigates the position of the gender role attitudes scale in the questionnaire as a potential source of bias. In particular, the present study aims at assessing the context effect of the family norms question on the measurement of gender role attitudes by adopting the theoretical perspective of the construal model of attitudes, according to which the adjacent questions constitute the context for interpreting and answering a stimulus. The study employs data from the CROss-National Online Survey panel, which was fielded in 2017 and contained an experiment where the order of the questions under investigation varied. The reliability, validity and invariance of the measurement of gender role attitudes across experimental settings and countries (Estonia, Great Britain and Slovenia) are explored adopting several analytical techniques, such as regression models and multiple-group confirmatory factor analysis. Differences between experimental settings emerged, suggesting that the questionnaire context matters for the validity and stability of the gender role attitudes items; however, the lack of patterns hinders general conclusions on what is the order of questions yielding better measurement of the gender role attitudes scale. Clear differences among the countries indicate that the cultural context may interact with the question context. Finally, we stress that the measurement is overall poor, urging to find a better formulation of the items measuring gender role attitudes.

Author Biographies

Angelica Maineri, Tilburg University
Angelica M. Maineri, MSc (a.m.maineri@uvt.nl) is a Junior Researcher at the Department of Sociology of Tilburg University (the Netherlands). She is also an assistant of the Methodology Group and member of the Operational and Planning Group of the European Values Study.
Vera Lomazzi, Data Archive for Social Sciences at GESIS – Leibniz Institute for Social Sciences
Dr. Vera Lomazzi (vera.lomazzi@gesis.org) is a senior researcher at the Data Archive for Social Sciences at GESIS – Leibniz Institute for Social Sciences in Cologne, Germany, and member of the Executive Committee of the European Values Study. Her substantive research mainly focuses on the cross-cultural study of gender equality and gender role attitudes. She has a specific interest in the quality of the instruments adopted by large cross-sectional survey programs and on their measurement equivalence.
Ruud Luijkx, Department of Sociology, Tilburg University (NL); Department of Sociology and Social Research, University of Trento (IT)
Dr. Ruud Luijkx (r.luijkx@uvt.nl) is an Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology of Tilburg University (the Netherlands) and a Visiting Professor at the Department of Sociology and Social Research of the University of Trento (Italy). He is currently the Chair of the Methodology Group of the European Values Study
Published
2021-04-10
How to Cite
Maineri, A., Lomazzi, V., & Luijkx, R. (2021). Studying the Context Effect of Family Norms on Gender Role Attitudes: an Experimental Design. Survey Research Methods, 15(1), 43-64. https://doi.org/10.18148/srm/2021.v15i1.7656
Section
Articles