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Bed disability days, past 12 months

Codes and Frequencies

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BEDAYR reports the number of days during the preceding 12 months that illness or injury kept the person in bed for more than half the day, including days while hospitalized. BEDAYR2 reports the number days in intervals.

The 1982-1996 Field Representative's Manuals included the following definitions:

Days in bed: Any day during which the person stayed in bed more than half of the day because of illness or injury.

More than half of the day: [M]ore than half of the hours that the person is usually awake.

Bed: Anything used for lying down or sleeping, including a sofa, cot, or mattress. For example, a person who stayed on the sofa watching TV because he/she was not feeling well enough to get around would be considered "in bed." The important point is that the person felt ill enough to lie down for more than half of the day.

Illness or Injury: These terms are respondent defined.

The Field Representative's Manuals for 1997-2000 included similarly worded definitions for "Days in bed" and "More than half of the day." The Manuals for 1997 forward included a similarly worded definition for "bed."

The 1982-1996 Manuals also included the following instructions for interviewers:

Do not count the hours that the person is usually asleep. Also, do not count a nap as a day in bed unless the person took a nap because of an illness or injury and the nap lasted more than half of the day.

Also include any days reported for a newborn, including days in a hospital.


There was a significant change in the variable universe, with all persons included for 1982-1996 and only sample adults included for 1997 forward. Prior to 1997, one member of the household could answer this question for other household members (i.e., proxy reporting). Beginning in 1997, when the information was collected only for sample adults, individuals answered the question for themselves, except in rare cases when disability barred sample adults from responding. In general, self-reporting is more accurate than proxy reporting. Thus, researchers should be cautious about comparing results from BEDAYR from prior to 1997 to results from BEDAYR for 1997 forward, even if the analysis is limited to adults.


  • 1982-1996: All persons.
  • 1997-2018: Sample adults age 18+.


  • 1982-2018