National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging

This study is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging (NACDA), the aging program within ICPSR. NACDA is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Heath (NIH).

United States National Health Measurement Study, 2005-2006 (ICPSR 23263)

Principal Investigator(s): Fryback, Dennis G., University of Wisconsin-Madison


The National Health Measurement Study (NHMS) surveyed older United States adults with a suite of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) indices to allow comparison and cross-calibration of these instruments. The design oversampled African Americans and older individuals to allow subgroup analyses. Several preference-weighted indices measuring self-reported generic HRQoL are used widely in population surveys and clinical studies in the United States and around the world. These indices are used to evaluate individual and population health. Because they have been developed using econometric methods to elicit utility weights for their scoring systems, they are generally accepted for use in cost-effectiveness analyses of health interventions. Each index uses a multidimensional representation of health, but each index covers the dimensions of health (e.g., physical function, mental function, social function, pain, other symptoms, etc.) differently, and uses questionnaires with different psychometric properties. Each index is scored so that perfect health is represented as 1.0 and dead is represented as 0.0, but they are known to have different scaling properties. Rarely have two or more of these instruments been included in a population survey, so there have been few opportunities to directly compare how they describe and measure health using multi-instrument data. In this study, respondents indicated whether they had been diagnosed with coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, eye disease, sleep disorder, chronic respiratory disease, clinical depression or anxiety disorder, gastrointestinal ulcer, thyroid disorder, and/or severe chronic back pain. Census tract is not identified, however race composition, education levels, economic factors, and urbanicity of each respondent's census tract of residence are included as contextual variables. Demographic, socioeconomic, and additional health data were elicited. Respondents are characterized by census region of residence, age, gender, marital status, race, ethnicity, education, household income and assets, health insurance, weight, height, smoking status, psychological well-being scales, and everyday and lifetime discrimination items. The data were de-identified, and extensive documentation was developed. The NHMS collected data on 3,844 adults in the continental United States (1,641 males and 2,203 females, 1,086 African Americans).

Access Notes

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.


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Study Description


Fryback, Dennis G. United States National Health Measurement Study, 2005-2006. ICPSR23263-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2009-06-23.

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This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Aging (P01-AG020679)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    activities of daily living, drinking behavior, health behavior, health status, lifestyles, older adults, quality of life, sexual behavior, symptoms

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 2005-06--2006-08

Date of Collection:   

  • 2005-06-01--2006-08-15

Unit of Observation:    individual

Universe:    Noninstitutionalized adults aged 35-89 residing in the continental United States in households with landline telephones.

Data Type(s):    census/enumeration data, survey data


Study Purpose:    Health care professionals and policy makers in the United States have set high goals for improving the health and well-being of the public in the coming years. Understanding how well these health goals are met requires having measures of health-related quality of life that can be used across different settings and different groups of people. The goals of this study were to evaluate the use of widely used health measures, understand the strengths and limitations of each, and create a versatile "toolbox" of summary measures of health that can be used to track changes in the public's health over time.

Study Design:    The main purpose of the National health Measurement Study (NHMS) was to compare commonly used preference-based health-related quality of life (HRQoL) instruments when they were co-administered to a cross-sectional sample of adults in the United States. These instruments are used for national tracking studies and for policy focused cost-effectiveness analyses of health and medical care interventions. It is widely known that they may give different numerical results for HRQoL but there are a few data sets in which two or more have been administered for direct comparison. All interviews were conducted in English by trained interviewers at the University of Wisconsin Survey Center using commercial computer-assisted telephone interview software.

Sample:    Complex, multi-stage, area probability sample. Complete sample methodology is located in the codebook.

Weight:    Data users should be cautioned that to produce nationally representative estimates with these data the calculations should use both sampling weights and account for telephone exchange strata. Detailed information regarding the use of weights can be located in the codebook.

Mode of Data Collection:    computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI)

Description of Variables:    The data elements have been divided into categories. These categories and their subdivisons are used as navigation bookmarks in the PDF files for the NHMS Codebook and NHMS CATI script. Users are urged to use the bookmarks for quick navigation in those documents.

Response Rates:    56 percent simple response rate.

Presence of Common Scales:    EuroQol EQ-5D, SF-36v2(TM), Health Utilities Index Mark II, Health Utilities Index Mark III, Quality of Well-Being Index Self-Administered Form CDC HRQOL-4 HRQoL indexes in the data are EQ-5D, HALex, HUI2, HUI3, SF-6D (from both SF-36 and SF-12 questions) QWB-SA, and the 4-item Centers for Disease Control and Prevention HRQOL-4 "Healthy Days" instrument, as well as all the SF-36v2TM scales and summary scores. Individual items subsuming each HRQoL index are available except HUI2 and HUI3, for which only domain levels are archived. PWB Self-acceptance score Everyday Discrimination Scale, Lifetime Discrimination Scale Body Mass Index Health Condition Composite variables For further information see: Fryback, D.G., Dunham, N.C., Palta, M., Hanmer, J., Buechner, J., Cherepanov, D., Herrington, S., Hays, R.D., Kaplan, R.M., Ganiats, T.G., Feeny, D., Kind, P. "United States norms for six generic health-related quality-of-life indexes from the National Health Measurement Study". Medical Care, 2007, 45(12):1162-1170.

Extent of Processing:   ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Performed consistency checks.
  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:   2009-06-23

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