Codes and Frequencies
FLSTOOP reports the level of difficulty the person has stooping, bending, or kneeling, by themselves and without special equipment. Please see Comparability and Universe tabs for changes in universe and question wording between samples.
The term "difficult" was respondent-defined. A brief definition of "special equipment" based on examples (i.e., "such as a cane, a wheelchair, a special bed, or a special telephone") was part of the preceding question. The Field Representative's Manual for 1997 forward defined "special equipment" as "any device, tool, utensil, instrument, implement, etc., used as an aid in performing an activity because of a physical, mental, or emotional problem." The Manual for 1997-2000 continued, "This includes the use of adult 'diapers' for incontinence. However, ordinary eyeglasses and hearing aids should not be considered 'special equipment.' For example: a spoon is not normally considered as 'special equipment'; however, a uniquely designed or functioning one used for eating by a person because of physical, mental, or emotional problems is considered 'special equipment.'"
Beginning in 2001, the Field Representative's Manual formally defined the words "by yourself." Specifically, "By yourself is considered to be without the help from another person or without hands-on assistance with performing an activity. Another person may be a friend, relative, paid helper, volunteer from an agency or organization or anyone else who helps the family member in doing the activities mentioned. He or she may be a household member or a non-household member."
A formal definition of "health problem" was also included in the Field Representative's Manual, with only slight changes in wording over time. The Manual for 1997 stated:
No definition of terms except the aforementioned definition of "health problem" as "any physical, mental, or emotional problem or illness (not including pregnancy) was routinely supplied to respondents during the interview.
Other questions in the series collected information about how difficult the sample adult found the following activities, if performed "by yourself and without using any special equipment":
- Walking about 3 blocks (FLWALK3BL)
- Standing for about 2 hours (FLSTAND2HR)
- Walking up 10 steps without resting (FLCLIMB)
- Sitting for about 2 hours (FLSIT2HR)
- Reaching above the head (FLREACH)
- Grasping small objects (FLGRASP)
- Carrying 10 pounds (FLCARRY)
- Pushing large objects (FLPUSHLAR)
- Going out for shopping (FLGOOUT)
- Participating in social activities (FLSOCIAL)
- Doing things to relax at home (FLRELAX)
Changes in universe and question wording limit comparability between samples.
In 1984, the universe includes sample persons ages 55 and older.
Beginning in 1997, respondents selected the appropriate response from choices listed on a card. For 1997-1999, the card listed 5 choices: Not at all difficult (0); Only a little difficult (1); Somewhat difficult (2); Very Difficult (3); and Can't do at all (4). Beginning in 2000, a sixth choice was added: Do not do this activity (6).
For years prior to 2000, a small number of cases were coded as "Do not do this activity" in the NHIS public use data files. The Field Representative's Manual for 2000 explained,
Although, technically, "Do not do this activity" was a category for FLSTOOP for 1997 forward in the NHIS public use files, this category is not actually comparable across the two periods 1997-1999 and 2000 forward. Very few cases (only 2 in 1997) were coded as "Do not do this activity" via data editing, compared to the number of respondents who self-selected this category for 2000 forward (233 in 2000). To increase comparability across years, researchers are advised to combine the categories "Can't do at all" and "Do not do this activity" when analyzing data collected both before and after 2000 for this variable.
- 1984: Sample persons age 55+.
- 1997-2018: Sample adults age 18+.
- 1984, 1997-2018
- 1984, 1997-2018 : SAMPWEIGHT