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Codes and Frequencies

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BRACEKNEE reports whether the persons uses a knee brace. Please see Comparability and Universe tabs for changes in universe and question wording between samples.


In 1994 and 1995 this variable is part of the Disability Supplement (NHIS-D) that collects information on disability. NHIS-D included two household interviews: in Phase I all members of sample families were screened for any indication of disability; in Phase II persons with any indication of disability were followed-up for additional information. Phase I includes sensory, communication, and mobility problems; health conditions; activities of daily living and independent activities of daily living; functional limitations; mental health; services and benefits; special health needs of children; early child development; education; relationship to respondent; and perceived disability. Phase II includes four Disability Followback Survey (DFS) questionnaires: one for children, one for adults, one for elderly persons (69 years of age and over) without any indication of disability (also called the Supplement on Aging or SOA; only in 1994), and one for persons with a history of polio.


Changes in the universe across samples limit the comparability of this variable. In 1994 and 1995, this question applied to all persons in the NHIS-D Phase I sample who used a brace of any kind.

In 2008, this question applied only to sample adult persons who stated that they use a brace to get around.

Changes in question wording also affects comparability between samples. In 1994 and 1995, after asking whether anyone in the family now uses a brace of any kind, interviewers asked, "On what part of the body is the brace worn? Is it worn on the back, neck, arm, hand, leg, foot or knee?"

In 2008, after asking whether the respondent used a brace to get around, interviewers asked, "What type of brace(s) do you use?" The survey form directed interviewers to, "Enter all that apply."

The presence of proxy reporting in 1994 and 1995, but not in 2008, could affect responses. In 1994 and 1995, a respondent representing the family answered this question for other adult family members. In 2008, except in rare cases where disability precluded self-reporting, sample adults themselves answered the question. Although self-reporting is likely to be more accurate than proxy reporting, proxy report of a variable such as BRACEKNEE is likely to be accurate due to the likely visibility of the brace to other household members.


  • 1994-1995: Persons in the NHIS-D Phase I sample who currently use a brace.
  • 2008: Sample adults age 18+ who use a brace to help get around.


  • 1994-1995, 2008