Stefkovics, Ádám – Sik, Endre (2022) What Drives Happiness? The Interviewer’s Happiness

Stefkovics, Ádám – Sik, Endre (2022) What Drives Happiness? The Interviewer’s Happiness.  Journal of Happiness Studies (IF: 3.852) 


"Interviewers in face-to-face surveys can potentially introduce bias both in the recruiting and the measurement phase. One reason behind this is that the measurement of subjective well-being has been found to be associated with social desirability bias. Respondents tend to tailor their responses in the presence of others, for instance by presenting a more positive image of themselves instead of reporting their true attitude. In this study, we investigated the role of interviewers in the measurement of happiness. We were particularly interested in whether the interviewer’s happiness correlates with the respondent’s happiness. Our data comes from a face-to-face survey conducted in Hungary, which included the attitudes of both respondents and interviewers. The results of the multilevel regression models showed that interviewers account for a significant amount of variance in responses obtained from respondents, even after controlling for a range of characteristics of both respondents, interviewers, and settlements. We also found that respondents were more likely to report a happy personality in the presence of an interviewer with a happy personality. We argue that as long as interviewers are involved in the collection of SWB measures, further training of interviewers on raising awareness on personality traits, self-expression, neutrality, and unjustified positive confirmations is essential."