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Amount of difficulty washing or dressing

Codes and Frequencies

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For sample adults age 18 and older, LAWASHDRESDIF reports the level of difficulty they face with self-care activities, such as washing all over or dressing. LAWASHDRESDIF is an item on all three of the Washington Group scales included in the NHIS data collection for sample adults: the Short Set on Functioning (WG-SS), 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.

This variable was first introduced in 2010 as part of the Quality of Life supplement and was included in that supplement through 2017. Beginning in 2018, this item was included on the sample adult questionnaire.

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 do not affect comparability of the variable. 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).
  • 2011-2017: Sample adults 18+ 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 aged 18+.


  • 2010-2022