Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options
CDC Home

Measuring disability with parsimony

Verbrugge LM, Merrill SS, Liu X. Disability and Rehabilitation 1999;21(5–6):295–306

Primary objective: Health surveys, especially those for older persons, include numerous detailed items about disability. There has been little effort to develop a global disability item, that is, one question that covers the concept of disability briefly but well. This article discusses how parsimony can be achieved through a single item, or less desirably by reductions of detailed items.

Results of three analyses on the issue of compact disability indicators, using public-use data sets (AHEAD, HRS, BRFSS), are presented. The analyses study relationships of global disability to both detailed disability items and global health. Overall, the results show that a global disability item has good coverage of specific disabilities and is distinct from self-rated health.

Routine inclusion of a global disability item in surveys is recommended, and specific suggestions are made to aid its design.

Contact Us:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    Health Related
    Quality of Life
    Surveillance Program
    1600 Clifton Rd
    Atlanta, GA 30333
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    TTY: (888) 232-6348
    Closed Holidays
  • Contact CDC-INFO The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC-INFO