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Have difficulty controlling bowels: Yes or no

Codes and Frequencies

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For sample persons age 55 and older in 1984, and age 65 and older in 1986, LABOWLYN reports whether or not she/he has difficulty controlling her/his bowels. If asked, the interviewers are instructed to give the following definition for difficulty of controlling bowels: "Includes accidentally soiling one's self as well as chronic inability to empty the bowels, excluding occasional constipation."

This variable is part of a series of variables related to the difficulty of doing various activities due to a physical/mental health condition, the use of help from others to carry on such activities, and the number of years this difficulty has persisted. For related variables, please use the IPUMS NHIS search function and drop-down menus.


Changes in survey design (e.g., quarters in which the supplement was collected) may affect raw frequencies, but do not affect comparability of the variable. As always, data users should use the prescribed IHIS weights.


  • 1984: Sample persons age 55+.
  • 1986: Persons age 65+.


  • 1984, 1986