Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS), 2003 (ICPSR 24382)

Published: Mar 27, 2009 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Bradford Hesse, National Institutes of Health. National Cancer Institute; Richard Moser, National Institutes of Health. National Cancer Institute


Version V1

The Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) collects nationally representative data about the American public's access to and use of cancer-related information. This data collection consists of the 2003 survey which focused on the changing patterns, needs, and behavior in seeking and supplying cancer information, and explored how cancer risks are perceived. A series of questions specifically addressed colon and breast cancer and respondents' familiarity with cancer screening procedures such as mammogram, colonoscopy, and the PSA test. Information was also gathered on physical and mental health status, smoking history, how often respondents ate fruits and vegetables, and whether they had health insurance. Demographic variables include sex, age, race, education level, employment status, marital status, household income, type of residential area (e.g., urban or rural), and whether respondents had children under the age of 18.

Hesse, Bradford, and Moser, Richard. Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS), 2003. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2009-03-27.

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Census tract

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

The data available for download are not weighted and users will need to weight the data prior to analysis.

Analyses of large HINTS domains usually produce reliable estimates, but analyses of small domains may yield unreliable estimates, as indicated by their large variances. Users should pay particular attention to the standard error and coefficient of variation (relative standard error) for estimates of means, proportions, and totals. Small sample sizes for particular analyses will tend to result in unstable estimates. Additional information about sampling, interviewing, sampling error, weighting, and the universe of each question may be found in the codebook documentation.

Variable names containing more than 16 characters were truncated in order to be compatible with current statistical programs. Therefore, variable names may differ slightly from those in the original documentation.

Each iteration of HINTS consists of a cross-sectional independent sample; however, there are several questions that are common across each iteration and thus the data could be combined by variable to test for changes over time or to obtain a larger sample size.

To protect respondent confidentiality, open-ended responses containing information on respondent's occupation in variables HC26GANYTHING_OS, HC11WHOSEEKCA_OS, and CK10CHANGEBE_1OS were blanked.

The formats of the variables FRUITS, FRUITJUICE, VEGETABLES, and POTATOES, as well as the weight and replicate weight variables, were adjusted to fit the width of the values present in these variables.

The CASEID variable was created for use with online analysis.

The sample design is a list-assisted RDD sample from all telephone exchanges in the United States, with oversampling of Blacks and Hispanics. This oversampling resulted in a nationally representative sample of households. During the household screening, one adult was sampled within each household and recruited for the extended interview. Please refer to the codebook documentation for more information on sample design.

The civilian, noninstitutionalized population of the United States aged 18 years and older.

survey data

The overall response rate was 33.05 percent. Please refer to the codebook documentation for more information on response rates.

Six-item version of the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10) Fact Sheet.



2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • Hesse, Bradford, and Richard Moser. Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS), 2003. ICPSR24382-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2009-03-27.

2009-03-27 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:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Every sampled adult who completed a questionnaire received a sampling weight and a set of replicate sampling weights. These sampling weights should be used in aggregating any survey questionnaire answers for the purpose of computing nationally representative estimates. Please refer to the codebook documentation for more information on weights used in the data.


  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions.

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This study is provided by ICPSR. ICPSR provides leadership and training in data access, curation, and methods of analysis for a diverse and expanding social science research community.