The gender gap in reporting household gun ownership

Am J Public Health. 1998 Nov;88(11):1715-8. doi: 10.2105/ajph.88.11.1715.


Objectives: This study examined errors in estimating household gun ownership that result from interviewing only 1 adult per household.

Methods: Data from 2 recent telephone surveys and a series of in-person surveys were used to compare reports of household gun ownership by husbands and wives.

Results: In the telephone surveys, the rate of household gun ownership reported by husbands exceeded wives' reports by an average of 12 percentage points; husbands' reports also implied 43.3 million more guns. The median "gender gap" in recent in-person surveys is 7 percentage points.

Conclusions: Future research should focus on respondents' reports about personally owned guns.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bias
  • Female
  • Firearms / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Men / psychology*
  • Ownership / statistics & numerical data*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Desirability
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards
  • United States
  • Women / psychology*