A Meta-analysis of Studies on the Performance of the Crosswise Model

Rainer Schnell* (Corresponding Author), Kathrin Thomas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This article provides a meta-analysis of studies using the crosswise model (CM) in estimating the prevalence of sensitive characteristics in different samples and populations. On a data set of 141 items published in 33 either articles or books, we compare the difference (Δ) between estimates based on the CM and a direct question (DQ). The overall effect size of Δ is 4.88; 95% CI [4.56, 5.21]. The results of a meta-regression indicate that Δ is smaller when general populations and nonprobability samples are considered. The population effect suggests an education effect: Differences between the CM and DQ estimates are more likely to occur when highly educated populations, such as students, are studied. Our findings raise concerns to what extent the CM is able to improve estimates of sensitive behavior in general population samples.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0049124121995520
Number of pages1
JournalSociological Methods & Research
Early online date7 May 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 May 2021


  • sensitive characteristics
  • social desirability
  • sampling
  • RRT


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