Codes and Frequencies
For sample adults in 2002 and 2007 who had ever used meditation (RELMEDEV) and for sample children in 2007, RELMEDYR reports whether the person had used meditation in the past 12 months.
Relaxation techniques--including meditation, deep breathing exercises, guided imagery, progressive relaxation, stress management classes, and support group meetings--were one of many alternative health treatment modalities included in the 2007 Alternative Health Supplement. For the full list of alternative health treatments covered in the NHIS, and for general background information about the Alternative Health Supplements, see ACUYR.
Sample adults who had not used meditation in the past year, or who had never used meditation, were asked to give a reason why they had not used that technique.
In addition, both sample children (2007 only) and sample adults (both 2002 and 2007) who had used any of the six specified relaxation techniques in the past 12 months were asked whether the techniques were used to treat a specific medical condition and, if so, what that condition was.
The 2002 Field Representative's Manual says that meditation:
This definition was not routinely shared with respondents.
The 2007 Field Representative's Manual says that meditation:
In 2007 field representatives were advised to "feel free to offer [this definition] even if the respondent has not requested [it]."
In 2002 and 2007, if sample adults gave a positive response to RELMEDYR (or to the comparable variables RELBRETHYR, RELGIMYR, RELRELAXYR, RELSTRESYR [2007 only], or RELSUPYR [2007 only], which cover use of other relaxation techniques in the past 12 months), they were asked a series of follow-up questions. These questions, which are described in more detail below, addressed the following topics: whether bought relaxation technique self-help book or materials; amount paid for self-help materials; times took class or saw practitioner for relaxation techniques; amount paid per class or to practitioner; any conventional medical treatments received and the timing of the conventional treatment relative to the relaxation technique treatment; the reasons for using relaxation techniques; and the disclosure of the use of relaxation techniques to conventional medical professionals.
As noted, sample adults who had used relaxation techniques in the past 12 months (i.e., those with a positive response in RELMEDYR, RELBRETHYR, RELGIMYR, RELRELAXYR, RELSTRESYR, RELSUPYR) were asked further questions about their use of relaxation techniques, as follows:
- number of relaxation techniques used (RELNO)
- relaxation technique used the most (RELMOST)
- importance of use of relaxation technique (RELIMPORT)
- bought relaxation technique self-help book or materials (RELBOOK)
- amount paid for relaxation technique self-help materials (RELBOOKPAY)
- ever saw practitioner for relaxation technique (RELPRAC)
- saw practitioner for relxation technique, past 12 months (RELPRACYR)
- took class or saw practitioner for relaxation technique (RELCLASS)
- times took class or saw practitioner for relaxation technique (RELCLASSNO)
- amount paid per class or to practitioner for relaxation technique (RELCLASSPAY)
- needed medical attention for relaxation technique side effects (RELSIDEMED)
- reasons for using relaxation technique (RELUSCOMBO, RELUSENERGY, RELUSHCREC, RELUSIMMUN, RELUSINTER, RELUSMEDCOST, RELUSMEDFAIL, RELUSRELREC, RELUSWELL, RELUSCOPE)
- whether combined relaxation technique with conventional treatments (RELNOCONV, RELCOUN, RELNPMED, RELPMED, RELPT, RELSURG)
- timing of relaxation technique treatment, relative to use of conventional treatments (RELCOUNTIM, RELNPMEDTIM, (RELPMEDTIM, RELPTTIM, RELSURGTIM)
- whether informed conventional medical practitioners of use of relaxation technique (RELLCONVHP, RELLDENT, RELLDO, RELLMD, RELLNURS, RELLPHARM, RELLPSYCHI, RELLPSYCHO)
Both sample adults and sample children who had used any of the specified relaxation techniques (meditation, deep breathing exercises, guided imagery, progressive relaxation, stress management class, support group meeting) in the past year were asked if they had done so to treat a specific health problem or condition (see RELTREAT). If the answer was affirmative, they were asked to specify the condition treated.
There are 131 total variables for specific conditions that were treated by relaxation techniques, including 72 for sample adults, 28 for sample children, and 31 for both sample adults and sample children. See RELTREAT for more detail and the full list of conditions that persons could indicate were treated with relaxation techniques, including meditation. Analysts interested in the conditions that relaxation techniques were used to treat may also wish to consult the following variables:
- condition for which relaxation technique was used most (RELTCONMOST)
- first condition for which relaxation technique was used (RELCON1)
- degree of help from relaxation technique, 1st condition (RELCON1HELP)
- second condition for which relaxation technique was used (RELCON2)
- degree of help from relaxation technique, 2nd condition (RELCON2HELP)
- third condition for which relaxation technique was used (RELCON3)
- degree of help from relaxation technique, 3rd condition (RELCON3HELP)
- condition count for relaxation technique (RELCONNO)
Respondents who had ever used meditation but had not used it in the past 12 months were asked to provide a reason why they had not used it. The reasons included:
- too expensive RELNOCOST
- health care worker said not toRELNOHC
- not needed RELNONEED
- not proven to work RELNOPROOF
- side effects RELNOSIDE
- did not think of it RELNOTHINK
- did not work before RELNOWORK
- no reason RELNOREAS
- some other reason RELNOOTH
Persons who had never used meditation (i.e., with a negative response in RELMEDEV) were asked why they had not used the technique. The reasons included:
- too expensive RELNEVCOST
- health care worker said not to RELNEVHC
- didn't know about it RELNEVKNOW
- not needed RELNEVNEED
- not proven to work RELNEVPROOF
- not safe RELNEVSAFE
- did not think of it RELNEVTHINK
- doesn't work RELNEVWORK
- no reason RELNEVREAS
- some other reason RELNEVOTH
The question wording for RELMEDYR changes slightly over time.
In 2002, sample adults were asked, "During the past 12 months, did you use ... meditation?"
In 2007, sample adults were asked, "During the past 12 months, did you use meditation for yourself?"
The 2007 question for sample children asked, "During the past 12 months did [sample child's name] use any of the following relaxation or stress management techniques? Please say yes or no to each. ... Meditation?"
- 2002: Sample adults age 18+ who have ever used meditation for their health.
- 2007: Sample adults age 18+ who have ever used meditation and sample children under 18.
- 2002, 2007
- 2002, 2007 : SAMPWEIGHT