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Publication Abstract

Authors: Seeman I, Poe GS, McLaughlin JK

Title: Design of the 1986 National Mortality Followback Survey: considerations on collecting data on decedents.

Journal: Public Health Rep 104(2):183-8

Date: 1989 Mar-Apr

Abstract: The first National Mortality Followback Survey in 18 years was conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics on a national probability sample of adult deaths in the United States in 1986. Data were collected on (a) socioeconomic differentials in mortality, (b) prevention of premature death by inquiring into the association of risk factors and cause of death, (c) health care services provided in the last year of life, and (d) the reliability of certain items reported on the death certificate. In addition to demographic characteristics of the decedent available from the death certificate and the questionnaire, information was secured on cigarette smoking practices, alcohol use, food consumption patterns, use of hospital, nursing home, and hospice care, sources of payment for care, duration of disability, and assistance with activities of daily living. A rich body of data was collected for analysis. In a large pretest, response was received from 87.3 percent of the next of kin of the decedents. The pretest included several methodologic studies to increase the level and quality of response in the main survey. Response rates were compared for data collection by mail, telephone, and personal interview. A test of certified mail and first class mail was conducted. Response to two forms of different lengths was compared. An experiment was also conducted on the effect of inclusion of boxes for a "don't know" response. A public use data tape is available from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Last Modified: 03 Sep 2013