Journal of Official Statistics, Vol.20, No.4, 2004. pp. 671686

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Perceptions of Disability: The Effect of Self- and Proxy Response

This study compares estimates of persons with disabilities based on self- versus proxy reports. In addition, it examines the consistency of reports across two waves of data collection. The findings indicate that self-response tended to produce higher rates of persons with disabilities than proxy reports, although only in the second wave of data collection. In addition, self-respondents provided less consistent responses across the two interviews than proxies did. These findings support theoretical and empirical literature that suggests that self-respondents rely on more dynamic information than proxies in responding to the survey questions. We classified proxy respondents according to their relationship to the target subjects and found that spouse proxies were significantly more likely to provide consistent answers than other proxies. These findings suggest that classifying all proxy reporters as one group may mask the effects of the respondent, since there seem to be significant effects of the proxy-target relationship and the characteristics of proxy respondents on the quality of the data.

Proxy response, measurement of persons with disabilities

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