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Years since chest x-ray

Codes and Frequencies

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CXRAYRS reports the amount of time since the last chest X-ray. Interviewers asked, "About how long has it been since [you/person] had a chest X-ray?"

According to the Field Representative's Manuals for 1973 and 1982, the question about time since the last chest x-ray was part of a survey section dealing with the use of preventive care services.

Self versus Proxy Reporting for Preventive Care Supplement

According to the 1973 and 1982 Manuals, interviewers were supposed to collect information directly for the preventive care supplement (rather than relying on proxy reporting), and to make a return call to interview a person directly, if necessary.


In 1973, in cases where proxy responses were accepted, interviewers were required to "enter the column number of the person who did respond and mark the box that describes the reason why a proxy respondent was accepted" (i.e., "mentally incompetent," "physically incompetent," or "away from home during interview period").

The 1982 Manual placed particular emphasis on direct interviews for the preventive care questions. The 1982 Manual instructed interviewers to accept a proxy respondent for these questions only if

  • The person is physically or mentally incapable of answering the questions OR
  • The person is temporarily absent and will not return during the interview period OR
  • The household has no telephone and you will not be in the same general area during the interview period.

In other cases,

  • Do not accept a proxy-respondent if the person is not at home at the tome of your initial visit. Make at least three additional calls to make contact when the person is most likely to be home, as designated by the respondent. If the person cannot be reached on your third callback, accept a proxy respondent.

Related Variables 

Other variables in the 1973 and 1982 surveys that report time since specific types of preventive care include EKGYRS (for electrocardiogram), GLAUCTESTYRS (for glaucoma test), and EYEXAMYRS (for vision test).

For 1973, responses to the question on years since last chest x-ray were topcoded at 10+ years in the NHIS public use files created by the National Center for Health Statistics. Single year responses up to 50 years for years since last chest x-ray are available for 1982, in CXRAYREX.


While the question wording and universe for CXRAYRS were identical for 1973 and 1982, there were differences in how responses to this question were collected and recorded.


The 1973 Manual provided the following instruction to interviewers on how to record answers to the question for CXRAYRS:

Mark the 'Never' or 'Less than 1 year' box or enter the number of years on the line provided. Ignore fractions of years--enter the number of full years only.

By contrast, the 1982 Manual encouraged interviewers to press for exact responses and record fractions of years, as follows:

For questions which require an entry for the length of time since the person last had the procedure done, mark the appropriate box or enter the number of years on the line provided. Enter fractions of years, as appropriate. If you receive an answer of "About 1 year," probe to determine a more specific number and enter that response. If the respondent is unable to provide a specific number, enter the original response. Also probe if a range (e.g., "3-5 years") is given. Record the range only if the respondent cannot provide a more exact response.


  • 1973; 1982: Persons age 17+.


  • 1973, 1982