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Amount of difficulty picking up small objects or opening bottles

Codes and Frequencies

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For sample adults age 18 and older (who were selected to participate in the relevant disability supplement in 2010-2017), LAHANDDIF reports the level of difficulty they face when using their hands and fingers, such as picking up small objects, for example a button or pencil, or opening and closing containers or bottles. Beginning in 2018, this item was included on the sample adult questionnaire. LAHANDDIF is an item on two of the three Washington Group scales included in the NHIS data collection for sample adults: the Enhanced Set on Functioning (WG-SS Enhanced) and the Extended Set on Functioning (WG-ES). Additional information about the Washington Group measures is provided below.

The Washington Group on Disability Statistics 

In 2019, functioning and disability measures included on the NHIS questionnaire were modified to align with validated, internationally-comparable disability measures developed by the Washington Group on Disability Statistics (WG). For more information about the WG initiative, other WG functioning and disability measures included on the NHIS questionnaire, and guidance for researchers about how to use the WG measures in analyses, please see our user note on the Washington Group Disability Measures.


Changes in survey design (e.g., quarters in which the supplement was collected) may affect raw frequencies but, aside from comparability challenges introduced with the 2019 redesign, do not affect comparability of the variable. Beginning in 2018, this item was included on the sample adult questionnaire. As always, data users should use the prescribed IPUMS NHIS weights.

Questionnaire design changes introduced in 2019 limit comparability with earlier years. The NHIS questionnaire was substantially redesigned in 2019 to introduce a different data collection structure and new content. For more information on changes in terminology, universes, and data collection methods beginning in 2019, please see the user note.


  • 2010: One quarter of sample adults, included in quality of life supplement (and excluded from family disability supplement).
  • 2011: Sample adults who were selected to receive the family disability questions (FDB).
  • 2013-2017: Sample adults who were asked the family disability questions (FDB) and were randomly selected to receive the Functioning and Disability (AFD) section.
  • 2018: Sample adults aged 18 and older.
  • 2019-2022: Sample adults age 18+.


  • 2010-2022