Codes and Frequencies
For sample adults age 18+ who have at least one functional activity limitation (FLANY), and for whom either an alcohol or drug problem was reported as a condition causing any functional activity limitation (FLALC), FLALCY reports the duration, in years, of the alcohol or drug problem.
Data on the duration of limiting alcohol or drug problem were collected via the question, "How long have you had [an alcohol or drug problem]?" Respondents could answer this open-ended question using the time unit of their choice (i.e., days, weeks, months, years, or since birth). The original responses to the question are reported in two complementary variables, FLALCTP (which specifies the time unit) and FLALCNO (which reports the number of such units). For the NHIS public use files, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) recoded the results from these two variables to create two other variables using standard time units: years (FLALCY) and groups of months (FLALCMO).
The 1997 forward NHIS Survey Descriptions caution that because the ad hoc classified condition categories (such as an "alcohol or drug problem" (FLALC)) were not included on flashcards given to respondents during the course of the interview, it is possible that weighted frequencies for these conditions may be underestimated. Thus, the NCHS recommends that "these variables should be analyzed with care."
Apart from a change in the coding of "unknown" cases, this variable is comparable across years.
In 2002 forward, the unknowns were categorized as:
- Unknown number of years (IPUMS NHIS code 96)
- Unknown-refused (IHIS code 97)
- Unknown-not ascertained (IHIS code 98)
- Unknown-don't know (IHIS code 99)
However, in 1997-2001, the category of "Unknown number of years" did not occur.
Analysts can achieve comparability across all years by combining codes for values of 96 and above into a single "unknown" category.
- 1997-2013; 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018: Sample adults age 18+ who have difficulty with activities due to alcohol or drug problems.
- 1997-2018 : SAMPWEIGHT