Codes and Frequencies
RELCLASS indicates whether sample adults had seen a practitioner for a relaxation technique during the past 12 months. In 2002, this information was collected from sample adults who had used at least one relaxation technique for their own health or treatment during the past 12 months (see list below) and had ever seen a practitioner for a relaxation technique (RELPRAC). In 2007, this information was collected from sample adults who had used a relaxation technique in the past 12 months (see list below).
In 2002, sample adults were asked about their use of the following relaxation techniques during the past year:
- Meditation (RELMEDYR)
- Guided imagery (RELGIMYR)
- Progressive relaxation (RELRELAXYR)
- Deep breathing exercises (RELBRETHYR)
In 2002, respondents who indicated using one or more of the four relaxation techniques recognized in that year were asked if they had ever seen a practitioner for the technique (RELPRAC). Those respondents with a "Yes" response to RELPRAC were asked the question for RELCLASS.
In 2007, sample adults were again asked about their use of the four relaxation techniques listed above. They were also asked about their use of two additional techniques:
- Stress management class (RELSTRESYR)
- Support group meeting (RELSUPYR)
In 2007, respondents who used any of the six relaxation techniques listed above were asked the question for RELCLASS.
In general, however, the use of relaxation techniques does not require seeing a practitioner or attending a class. Many other forms of complementary and alternative medicine inquired about in the NHIS do require a practitioner (e.g., acupuncture, hypnosis, massage). Variables similar to RELCLASS, which indicate whether the respondent had seen a practitioner or had taken a class for a modality of alternative medicine during the past 12 months (although seeing a practitioner was not essential for such treatment), include:
- DITPRACYR (Special diets)
- HOMPRACYR (Homeopathic treatment)
- HERPRACYR (Herbal supplements)
- VITPRACYR (High dose or megavitamin therapy)
- YTQCLASS (Yoga, Tai chi, or Qi gong)
For more information on the full range of variables related to relaxation techniques, including definitions, see RELMEDYR.
There are three differences in RELCLASS between 2002 and 2007.
First, in 2002, respondents were only asked whether they had seen a practitioner for relaxation techniques. The scope of the question expanded in 2007 to include not only seeing a practitioner for a relaxation technique, but also taking a class for a relaxation technique.
Second, as noted in the variable description, the number of relaxation techniques recognized by the NHIS increased over time.
The 2002 survey recognized 4 relaxation techniques. The 2007 survey recognized those same 4 relaxation techniques, plus 2 additional techniques. Thus, a respondent who had used support group meetings or stress management classes in 2002, but not any of the relaxation techniques recognized in that year, would not have been asked the question for RELCLASS in that year.
Third, the survey questions differ in their reference to unspecified "relaxation techniques" versus the "technique used most."
In 2002, respondents were asked if they had seen a practitioner for "relaxation techniques." Thus, a "Yes" response to RELCLASS in that year could mean that the respondent had seen a practitioner for any of the 4 relaxation techniques that he or she had used.
By contrast, in 2007, respondents were asked if they had seen a practitioner (or taken a class) for the relaxation technique they had used most (see RELMOST). Thus, in 2007, a respondent who had used meditation the most, but had seen a practitioner for guided imagery and not for meditation, would have a "No" response to RELCASS. However, such a respondent would likely have had a "Yes" response to RELCASS in 2002.
Researchers must judge for themselves whether these differences compromise comparability for their analyses.
- 2002: Sample adults age 18+ who have used at least one relaxation techniques for their own health or treatment during the past 12 months.
- 2007: Sample adults age 18+ who have used a relaxation technique during the past 12 months.
- 2002, 2007
- 2002, 2007 : SAMPWEIGHT