Washington Group on Disability Statistics

Second Meeting

January 9-10, 2003: Ottawa, Canada


The second meeting will focus on pursuing work begun on two topic areas at the first meeting: 1) the on the purposes of general disability measures, and 2) . The meeting will also look at preliminary work on sets of measures related to the International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (ICF) components of participation and environment, with a view to developing a more specific work plan for the third meeting.



Day 1 – Thursday, January 9, 2003

  • The Disability Measurement Matrix, Barbara Altman, Jennifer Madans
  • General Disability Measures in Developing Countries: Relationship Purpose of Measurement, Margaret Mbogoni
  • General Disability Measures Used in Developed Countries: Question Characteristics, Elizabeth Rasch
  • General Measure on People with Disabilities in the European Statistical System (ESS), Elena de Palma
  • Analysis of Matrices: Identifying the Measurement Gaps, Jennifer Madans
  • Viewing Measures via the Matrix: Do We Have What We Need?, Barbara Altman, Jennifer Madans
  • General Measures of Health for Use in Health Interview Surveys and Censuses: the UK Experience, Howard Meltzer
  • Implementation of MEHM-items in HIS in Denmark (MEHM=Minimum European Health Module), Niels Rasmussen

Day 2 – Friday, January 10, 2003

  • Trends in the Prevalence of Disability and Chronic Conditions: Implications for Survey Design and Measurement of Disability, Xingyan Wen
  • The OECD Experience in Using Survey-Based Disability Data: An Illustration of Current Possibilities and Limitations, Gaétan Lafortune
  • Questions on Disabilities Raised in the Last Census in St. Lucia, Ethel Jn. Baptiste
  • Brazil’s Experience Using the Census, Renée Langlois on behalf of Alicia Bercovich
  • Measurement of Disability in Australia, Elisabeth Davis
  • Measurement of Disability in Egypt, Bothaina Mahmoud El-Deeb
  • Canadian Valuation of Health States: Protocol for Selecting Health State Attibutes, Jean-Marie Berthelot
  • Results from the Canadian 2001 Census and Post-Censal Disability Survey, Renée Langlois, Éric Langlet
  • Disability in Canadian Questionnaires, Sally Kader
  • Measurement in Existing Surveys /Participation and Environmental factors, Marijke de Klein de Vankrijke
  • General Disability Measurement in Uganda – Focusing on Improvement in Methodology and Concepts Used, Pamela Nabukhonzo

Question Matrix

One of the first products of the first meeting of the Washington Group was the development of a matrix that cross-classifies the purpose that a general disability measure is supposed to address (i.e., the use that the data will be put to) with a typology of question characteristics which address concepts such as domain, severity, etiology and duration. The cells of the conceptual version of the matrix describe the information on each of the question characteristics that is needed to satisfy each of the specific purposes. In addition, an empirical version of the matrix is being developed that evaluates the characteristics of the general measures currently in use according to the dimensions of the matrix. These two matrices, which detail what we need to measure to fulfill purposes as well as what we have measured with existing general indicators, are intended to help us identify the gaps that exist in disability measurement. They will also help to direct our future work in developing internationally comparable general measures of disability. Work on both the conceptual and empirical matrix is currently underway by a team with members from Italy, the United Nations, and the United States. Anyone interested in joining in this effort should contact Jennifer Madans, National Center for Health Statistics, JMadans@cdc.gov.

Results of Testing General Disability Measures

Several countries have undertaken research in the area of general disability measures and presented plans or preliminary results at the first meeting. Some developing countries expressed interest in adopting models being proposed by other countries. The second group meeting will provide an opportunity for countries with results from recent censuses or sample based surveys to present their analyses and recommendations to the group. Countries who currently have plans to test such measures would also have an opportunity to share them with other members. Plans for further testing (for instance, in developing countries ) could be developed as a result of this exchange of information.


Papers and Presentations

Introduction and Review of Objectives and Agenda

Gary Catlin (Statistics Canada) provided a welcome, a review of the objectives and agenda for the second meeting, and a review of the developments since the first meeting.


Disability Measurement Matrices: Relationships Between Purposes of Measurement and Characteristics of Measures of Disability

This session focused on describing disability measurement matrices, conceptual and empirical, and identifying gaps that exist in disability measurement relative to data needs identified by the Washington Group (WG). Description of experiences using general disability and health measures ended the session.


Testing and Evaluation of General Disability Measures Currently in Use

This session included presentations of results, analyses, and recommendations from countries using general disability measures in recent censuses or sample-based surveys. Presentations were also made by countries with plans to test such measures. Comparability of measures and methodological issues were also discussed.


Executive Summary



Meeting Contact

Josée Ménard
Administrative Assistant to Councils
Health Statistics Division
Statistics Canada
Tel: 613-951-1630
Fax: 613-951-0792
Email: Josee.Menard@statcan.ca