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Uses special shoes

Codes and Frequencies

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SPECSHOE indicates whether the person used special shoes at the time of the interview. 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.


Changes in universe affect comparability between samples.

In 1969, 1977, 1979 and 1980 this question was asked of all persons.

In 1994 and 1995, this question was asked of persons in the Disability Supplement (NHIS-D) who uses a mobility aid to get around (MOBILAIDYN).

In 2008, the inquiry referred only to sample adults ages 18 and older.

In all years this question is part of a series of questions on the use of special mobility aids.

Along with changes in the universe, the presence of proxy reporting in 1969, 1977, 1979, 1980 1990, 1994 and 1995, but not in 2008, could affect responses. In the earlier years, a respondent representing the family could answer this question for other adult family members. In 2008, except in rare cases where disability precluded self-reporting, sample adults themselves answered the question. Although self-reporting is likely to be more accurate than proxy reporting, proxy reporting for a variable such as SPECSHOE is likely to be accurate because of the visibility of the aid to other household members.

Changes in wording may affect comparability between samples. In 1969, 1977, 1979 and 1980, interviewers asked about the use of, "special shoes." In 1994 and 1995, interviewers asked about, "Medically prescribed shoes." In 2008, interviewers asked about, "Medically prescribed shoes or orthotics." These terms may have a different meanings for respondents.


  • 1969; 1977: All persons.
  • 1979-1980: All persons.
  • 1994-1995: Persons in the NHIS-D Phase I sample who use a mobility aid to get around.
  • 2008: Sample persons age 18+.


  • 1969, 1977, 1979-1980, 1994-1995, 2008