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Uses artificial arm

Codes and Frequencies

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ARTIFARM indicates whether the respondent or anyone in the respondent's family had an artificial arm. In 1969, 1977, 1979, 1980, and 1990, this question applied to the respondent and the respondent's family. In 2008, this question only applied to respondents and not their families and was only asked of sample adults who had an artificial limb (ARTIFLIMB).


The Field Representative's Manuals for 1969, 1979 and 1980 notes that interviewers may include or clarify to respondents that an "artificial arm" includes an artificial hand; this is stated as part of survey question in 1990. In 1977, the Manual notes that interviewers are not required to ask the question to determine if someone has an artificial arm or leg if such a limb is apparent.

As indicated above, respondents answered this question for each person in their family in the 1969, 1977, 1979, 1980, and 1990 surveys. Further, in 1990, this question was part of a supplement on assistive devices and only sample persons who did not refuse this supplement were asked this question.


Apart from the changes in the universe, the presence of proxy reporting in the 1969, 1977, 1979, 1980 and 1990 surveys, but not in 2008, could affect responses. In the earlier years, a respondent representing the family answered this question for other family members. The use of observer report (the interviewer) could affect responses in the 1977 survey. In 2008, except in rare cases where disability precluded self-reporting, sample adults themselves answered the question. While self-reporting is usually more accurate than proxy reporting, proxy reporting of this variable is likely to be accurate, since family members are likely to know if a relative in the household has an artificial limb.

Also note the slight change in wording in 2008, wherein the word "hand" is not included in the survey question and no instructions are given in the Field Representative's Manuals as to whether hand should be considered as part of an artificial arm.


  • 1969; 1977: Persons who currently used a special aid (an artificial limb or aids for getting around).
  • 1979-1980: All persons.
  • 1990: Persons who did not refuse to complete assistive devices supplement and who used an artificial limb.
  • 2008: Sample adults age 18+ who have an artificial limb.


  • 1969, 1977, 1979-1980, 1990, 2008