Data Cart

Your data extract

0 variables
0 samples
View Cart
Ever told have muscular dystrophy

Codes and Frequencies

Can't find the category you are looking for? Try the Detailed codes


MUSCDYSTEV reports whether the person has muscular dystrophy. Please see Comparability and Universe tabs for changes in universe and question wording between samples.


In 1994 and 1995, this variable is part of the Disability Supplement (NHIS-D) that collects information on disability. NHIS-D included two household interviews: in Phase I all members of sample families were screened for any indication of disability; in Phase II persons with any indication of disability were followed-up for additional information. Phase I includes sensory, communication, and mobility problems; health conditions; activities of daily living and independent activities of daily living; functional limitations; mental health; services and benefits; special health needs of children; early child development; education; relationship to respondent; and perceived disability. Phase II includes four Disability Followback Survey (DFS) questionnaires: one for children, one for adults, one for elderly persons (69 years of age and over) without any indication of disability (also called the Supplement on Aging or SOA; only in 1994), and one for persons with a history of polio.

Definitions and Related Variables 

The Field Representative's Manual for 2001 forward defines Muscular Dystrophy as "any of several inherited diseases characterized by progressive degeneration of the skeletal muscles. The most common form, Duchenne, affects only boys and begins with leg weaknesses. Another form involves primarily facial and shoulder muscles and affects both sexes." This definition was not routinely shared with respondents.


Changes in universe and question wording affect comparability between samples.

In 1994 and 1995, this question refers to all persons in the National Health Interview Survey-Disability Survey (NHIS-D) Phase I sample. In those years, this question reports whether the person has muscular dystrophy.

For 1997 forward, the household respondent was asked whether "a doctor or other health professional ever told you that" the sample person had muscular dystrophy. In 2008, the universe includes sample children and sample adults; in all other years from 1997 on the universe includes only sample children under age 18.
In addition to changes in the question universe, the question wording (for 2008) is different for adults and children. In the case of children, respondents were shown a list of conditions (including Muscular Dystrophy) and were asked if a doctor or health professional had ever diagnosed the child with any of those conditions. For adults, interviewers asked only, "Have you ever had ... Muscular Dystrophy?"

This difference in wording regarding diagnosis should not greatly limit comparability across age groups (under versus over age 18). Self-diagnosis of Muscular Dystrophy is unlikely, and adults answering affirmatively would probably have been diagnosed by a health care professional.


  • 1994-1995: Persons in the NHIS-D Phase I sample.
  • 1997-2007: Sample children under age 18.
  • 2008: All sample persons.
  • 2009-2018: Sample children under age 18.


  • 1994-1995, 1997-2018