Codes and Frequencies
RADAY2WKTOT reports the total number of days during the past 2 weeks that illness or injury caused a person to cut down on usual activities for as much as a day.
RADAY2WKTOT is a recoded variable created by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and included in the original NHIS public use data.
The 1969-1996 Field Representative Manuals characterize usual activities as follows:
"Usual activities" on Sundays or holidays are the things the person usually does on such days, such as going to church, playing golf, visiting friends or relatives, staying at home and listening to the radio, reading, looking at television, etc.
In those cases where the "usual activity" was difficult to determine, interviewers were instructed to "accept the respondent's view of what he himself considers to be his 'usual activities.'" For example, interviewers were instructed to accept "working" as a usual activity even if reported by a person having a heart condition that prevented any work for a year or more.
As noted above, RADAY2WKTOT reports specifically on usual activities "cut down" by "as much as a day." These are referred to as "cut down days." The 1969-1996 Field Representative's Manuals characterize cut down as follows:
The 1969-1981 Field Representative's Manuals state that the meaning of the expression "for as much as a day" is "the whole of that day." Thus, for 1969-1981, the Field Representative's Manuals characterize a cut down day as:
Although the NCHS intended "cut down day" to mean, in 1969-1981, cutting down on activities for the whole day [the entire day] on account of an illness or injury, the 1969-1981 survey questions asked about activities cut down for as much as a day on account of an illness or injury. This possible tension between the intention of the NCHS and the wording of the 1969-1981 survey questions was resolved, beginning in 1982, with a rewording of the survey questions.
Thus, as noted in The National Health Interview Survey Design, 1973-84, and Procedures, 1975-83, starting in 1982, the concept of a cut down day meaning more than half a day was directly communicated to the respondent in the survey questions asked. Reflecting this change in the survey questions, the 1982-1996 Field Representative's Manuals define "cut down day" as:
Data Collection Process: Questions and Editing
There is no single survey question associated with RADAY2WKTOT. Instead, RADAY2WKTOT is a recoded variable that sums responses to a series of sequentially asked questions. The questions in 1975-1981 are slightly different than in 1982-1996 since, as noted above, the meaning of "cut down day" was different in these two periods.
The variable is comparable in 1975-1981. Furthermore, the variable is comparable in 1982-1996. However, researchers who want to link these two periods should be cautious.
There are several issues:
- The meaning of "cut down days" is slightly different in 1969-1981 than in 1982-1996. In 1969-1981, although the survey questions used to create RADAY2WKTOT asked only about activities cut down for as much as a day because of an illness or injury, the NCHS intended that "cut down days" refer to "the whole of that day." In contrast, in 1982-1996, the intent of the NCHS to use "cut down day" to refer to activities cut down for "more than half of the day" because of an illness or injury was incorporated directly into the survey questions used to create RADAY2WKTOT.
- In 1975-1981, reports of 14 days mean 14 or more days. This changes, beginning in 1982, and in 1982-1996, 14 days means only 14 days.
- Beginning in 1982, codes of 15 or more days were edited to 0 days. This differs from 1975-1981, where codes of 15 or more days were edited to 14 days. According to NCHS, the number of codes of 15 days or more was very small.
Researchers might also want to use RADAY2WKRSID, which reports the number of days during the past 2 weeks -- other than bed days, school-loss days or work-loss days -- that illness or injury caused a person to cut down on usual activities for as much as a day.
- 1975-1996: All persons.
- 1975-1996 : PERWEIGHT