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National Survey of Functional Health Status, 1990 (ICPSR 6370)

Principal Investigator(s): Ware, John E. Jr.


The 1990 National Survey of Functional Health Status (NHS) was an outgrowth of previous research designed to understand how specific components of the health care system affect the outcomes of care. The NHS addressed three main research goals. First, the NHS sought to obtain national normative data on the SF-36, a measure of functional health status and well-being. Second, the NHS investigated whether respondents believed that physicians assess functional health status and well-being in the course of the care they provide and whether these aspects of health were considered important factors in overall medical care. Finally, the NHS explored how measures of quality of life and other social factors relate to the health status and well-being of the general population, particularly the elderly population. Questions include specific inquiries into the respondents' physical and emotional conditions. Other variables cover respondents' environment and personal lives, with a specific focus on stress and pressures. Demographic data in the NHS include age, race, education, and occupation. Additionally, this survey also investigated the relative merits and costs of self-completed mail surveys versus surveys completed by telephone.

Access Notes

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DS1:  Data File - Download All Files (2.67 MB)
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DS2:  SAS Data Definition Statements - Download All Files (0.016 MB)

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Study Description


Ware, John E., Jr. NATIONAL SURVEY OF FUNCTIONAL HEALTH STATUS, 1990. Boston, MA: John E. Ware, Jr., New England Medical Center [producer], 1991. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1995. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR06370.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR06370.v1

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    health care services, health status, medical care, older adults, physical condition, physicians, quality of life

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 1989--1990

Date of Collection:   

  • 1990

Universe:    Sample frame of the 1989 and 1990 General Social Survey. The GSS is an annual survey of the noninstitutionalized adult population in the United States. The GSS sample frame is a national stratified, multistage area probability sample of households in the continental United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii).

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The data collection instrument is available only in hardcopy form upon request from ICPSR.


Sample:    The sample for the National Survey of Functional Health Status (NHS) was drawn from the sample frame of the 1989 and 1990 General Social Survey (GSS). The sample frame for the NHS included 1,537 GSS households from 1989 and 1,372 GSS households from the 1990 GSS for a total base sample of 2,909 households. From the base sample, the NHS drew two categories of respondents. First, it selected the single member of each household who had been interviewed previously on the GSS in the designated years. Second, the NHS selected for interview 342 elderly persons who were residing in the target households but had not been selected for GSS interviews.

Data Source:

self-completed mail surveys and telephone interviews


Original ICPSR Release:   1995-06-05

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