Codes and Frequencies
LATOTAL reports whether, and to what extent, persons were limited in their activities due to one or more chronic conditions. The range of limitations reported, from most to least severe, were:
- Cannot perform usual activity [major activity, 1982-1996]
- Can perform usual activity [major activity, 1982-1996], but limited in amount and kind
- Can perform usual activity [major activity, 1982-1996], but limited in outside [other, 1982-1996] activities
- Not limited (includes unknowns)
The 1969-1981 Field Representative's Manuals defined the expression "limitation of activities" as follows:
This changed in 1982 when LATOTAL became a recode. The 1982-1996 Field Representative's Manuals defined "limited" as follows:
Moreover, in 1982-1996 interviewers were told not to define the term "limited" for respondents. If respondents asked for a definition, interviewers were to "emphasize that we are interested in whether the respondent thinks the person is limited in the specific activity."
Codebooks, the questions and relevant skip patterns are:
The terminology used in labeling this variable in the Codebooks changed from "usual activity" (1969-1981) to "major activity" (1982-1996). Because the survey questions used to elicit the information did not use either of these expressions, this semantic shift had minimal or no effect on the comparability of the variability over time.
There are a number of comparability issues:
- 1969-1981 has two categories for persons under 6 years of age: "Persons under age 1 year," and "Persons age 1-5 years". In contrast, 1982-1996 has a single category, "Persons under age 5 years."
- 1969-1981 has two categories for persons 6-16 years of age: "Persons age 6-16 years going to school," and "Persons age 6-16 years not going to school for most of the past 12 months." In contrast, 1982-1996 has a single category for "Persons age 5-17 years."
- 1969-1981 has a category "Retired persons age 44+ years, or persons age 17+ not working, keeping house or going to school for most of the past 12 months." There is no category in 1982-1996 that refers to retired persons. The category closest to the 1969-1981 category is persons age 18-70 years who identified their major activity (or, if two or more activities were reported, either spent the most time doing or considered the most important) as going to school or something else.
- There is no 1969-1981 category that corresponds directly to the 1982-1996 category "Persons age 71+ years."
- The initial 1982-1996 question for persons under age 5 years asks for a comparison to "most children of [person's] age." This comparison is not present in the 1969-1981 question for persons age 1-5 years.
- Both 1969-1981 and 1982-1996 ask of school age persons (age 6-16 years in 1969-1981, and age 5-17 years in 1982-1996) whether the person attends a certain school (1969-1981), special school (1982-1996) or special classes (1982-1996) because of health (1969-1996) or impairment (1982-1996). However, if the answer is "no," only 1982-1996 has the follow-up question of whether the person needs "to attend a special school or special classes because of an impairment or health problem."
- 1963-1971: Persons with 1+ chronic conditions.
- 1972-1996: All persons.
- 1963-1996 : PERWEIGHT