Each wave, HRS includes several experimental modules that are administered at the end of the core interview. By design, they are 2-3 minutes in length and cover a range of topics, some completely new and others that enhance information existing in the core. The sample sizes range but, in general, are approximately a 10 percent random sample of the core. Each respondent receives only one experimental module per wave. In the Codebooks, they are listed as Section M (1992-2000) or Section V (2002 and later).
HRS 2020 Core
Module 1: Retirement Knowledge Scale
Luisa Blanco, Sylvia Paz, and Ron Hays
The Retirement Knowledge module assesses the expectations, thoughts, and plans of both retired and not yet retired respondents. The questions vary slightly between retired and non-retired respondents. In addition, the module asks how much the respondent knows about how retirement accounts work. This includes three questions where the respondent has to solve simple math problems about interest and inflation associated with savings accounts.
Module 2: Long term care insurance procrastination
This first half of the Long-Term Care module is given to respondents who answered earlier in section N that they do not have long term care insurance. The questions consider the reasons why a respondent does not have LTC insurance. The second half of the module is the Pure Procrastination Scale (Steel, 2010) which can be used to write a number of studies on how procrastination affects old age decisions specific to retirement, savings and health.
Module 3: Depression
Liming Dong and Briana Mezuk
The Depression Concordance Spousal Reporting module asks the respondent to report the mood and emotions of their spouse within the last week. If the respondent is not coupled, the respondent specifies who they spend the most time with and answer the questions about that person. The mood and emotion questions are divided into two blocks. The respondents are randomly assigned to ask the first block followed by the second block and the other half are asked the second block followed by the first block.
Module 4: Social Security Knowledge
The Social Security Knowledge module is a brief questionnaire that asks respondents to answer questions about how they think Social Security benefits are claimed and distributed.
Module 5: Time Inconsistency
Irene Ferrari and Duarte Nuno Semedo Leite
The Time Inconsistency module is broken into two blocks. Respondents are randomly assigned to receive the blocks in one of two different orders. The questions simply ask if the respondent would like to receive a smaller specified amount of money sooner or a larger specified amount of money later. Those questions are followed by a short procrastination scale.
Module 6: Upper extremity difficulties
The Upper Extremity Difficulties module asks the respondent about difficulties they have completing common everyday activities such as opening a childproof bottle, fastening small buttons, and pouring from a gallon of milk. A second smaller section asks the respondent to gauge how much they think various household foods and items weigh.
Module 7: Probability Numeracy
By using a variety of imaginary scenarios, the Probability Numeracy Module asks the respondent to report the probability that they think something may happen or not happen. An example of a scenario included in the module is the probability of a coin toss landing hands up multiple times.
Module 8: Trust in Financial and Other Institutions Central to Old Age Security
Luigi Guiso, Annamaria Lusardi, Olivia S. Mitchell, and Paola Sapienza
The Trust in Financial Institutions module asks respondents if they think various financial institutions are working in their favor or trying to deceive them. Examples of the financial institutions are banks, Social Security, and insurance companies.
Module 9: Longevity and Regret
Abigail Hurwitz, Olivia S. Mitchell, and Orly Sade
The financial regret module starts with a few questions asking the respondent to rate the probability that they will live longer than other men or women their own age. The rest of the questions ask if the respondent has a variety of financial benefits, and if they believe they made the right choices in regards to these benefits over the years.
Module 10: Substance Use Problems
The Substance Use module is about problems with substances (such as medications, other drugs, tobacco and alcohol) that our Health and Retirement Study participants might have. These questions, developed by the National Institutes of Health, are routinely asked in many doctors’ offices and in hospitals because of the recent concern about substance use among Americans. The module simply asks the respondent to report how many times in the past few months to a year they have used a variety of substances.
HRS 2018 Core
Module 1: Financial Decision Making and Coping
Module 1 addresses two issues in two short sequences. The first section asks about the respondent's experiences making day-to-day financial decisions - whether the respondent experiences anxiety, conflict, confidence, or worry over their decisions about money. The second section focuses on the respondent's coping style in a variety of situations. The respondent is asked about their level of concern over how they are perceived in everyday situations. Concern about appearance, speech, going certain places, and the respondent's gender are examples of the situations covered. The last question asks respondents to identify what personal aspects might be the cause of their concern or lack thereof - religion, nationality, race, age, gender, or financial standing.
Module 2: Understanding Debt
Annamaria Lusardi, Olivia S. Mitchell, and Noemi Oggero
This module consists of questions about the respondent's current debts. Respondents are asked about outstanding student loans, medical debt, past planning for their current level of debt, and contact by a debt collection agency. The final question is a little test of their off-the-top-of-the-head on how debt interest works over time.
Module 3: Dental Health and Dental Health Services
Jane A Weintraub, et al
This module focuses on the respondent's dental health. The first several questions ask about the respondent's general dental condition and the presence of dentures. The middle and longest section examines the effect dental problems have on the respondent's quality of life. The final section focuses on the respondent's use of dental health services - frequency of seeing a dentist, types of treatment needed, and types of dental facilities R utilizes.
Module 4: Attitude Toward and Use of Marijuana (Cannabis) in Older Americans
This is the marijuana module. Topics include current and past patterns of use of marijuana and hashish, whether the respondent has ever had either one prescribed by a doctor and for what condition, and finishes with some questions about the respondent's current attitudes about marijuana and hashish.
Module 5: Entrepreneurship
This module - the 'Entrepreneurship' module - gathers information about respondents' involvement in business ownership. The initial section establishes whether or not the respondent has ever been involved in owning and running a business. Depending on their response, they are asked one of two sections. If the respondent has been a business owner, they are asked what kind of impact that business activity had on their overall quality of life and about their motivations for becoming an entrepreneur. Respondents who thought about getting involved in a business but did not do so are asked about the issues that kept them from running a business. If they are still thinking of running a business, they are asked about their motivations for doing so. If the respondent has never been involved in a business and never considered it, the module is quite short.
Module 6: Perceived Effects of Behaviors and Conditions on Longevity
Pamela Giustinelli and Gabor Kezdi
This module explores the respondent's perceptions about issues that affect longevity. Hopefully the respondents who get this module are comfortable with the 0-100 scales. First, each respondent is assigned a 62 'target age' to which they could live based on their current age. Then the respondent is asked to imagine a person exactly like him/herself but who is different in some way and to estimate that person's chances (0-100) of living to the target age. A random assignment directs the respondent to be asked about the impact of smoking, exercising regularly, or diabetes on life expectancy, and closes with a question about medical forms.
Module 7: Working Longer (Age < 65)
Peter Hudomiet, Michael Hurd, and Susann Rohwedder
This (another 0-100) asks respondents under age 65 about their chances of working after the age of 70 given different characteristics of the job. Each respondent gets one of 3 sections: for respondents working for an employer; for respondents who are currently not working; or for respondents who are self-employed. Each section asks similar questions about job characteristics that could affect the respondent's desire to take the described job. For example, what are the chances that the respondent could take a job where s/he was able to work totally at home? If working from home is important to the respondent, her/his chances of taking such a job might be very good and vice versa.
Module 8: Overuse of Health Care
This module asks about the respondent's attitude towards a variety of medical tests and treatments and about their own experiences getting medical care. It explores the balance between people's need for tests and the possible harm from the tests themselves.
Module 9: End of Life Decisions
This module asks respondents about their preferences for medical decisions in different situations. Initial questions establish the respondent's preferred mode of medical decision-making for their own health. The remainder of the module poses two different situations: the first asks the respondent to imagine herself/himself having a brain disease that cannot be cured and then poses three questions describing various forms of treatment and asking whether the respondent would want those treatments if s/he were in such a condition. In the second situation, the respondent is to imagine him/herself totally paralyzed for life but whose brain is still functioning well; again the respondent is asked about their treatment preferences. The closing is a nicely worded "thank you" for responding to questions on a topic that can be difficult to talk about.
Module 10: HRS Adaptation of Patient Assessment of Care for Chronic Conditions
This module is the age-group complement to module 7, asking the 65-and-overs about medical care for chronic conditions. If the respondent does not have a chronic condition that has been treated in the past 2 years, they are done with module 10. Most of the questions revolve around the extent to which the doctor(s) treating the condition encourage the respondent's own involvement in his/her self-care; additional questions ask about the level of follow-up the respondent receives from the medical team as well as how thorough the team was in asking about how visits to other medical professionals affected the respondent's condition.
HRS 2016 Core
Module 1: Adult ADHD
Symptom Prevalence of Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Questions about the frequency of a set of behaviors such as restlessness or inability to concentrate that might indicate adult ADHD.
Module 2: Financial Mismanagement at Older Ages
Michaela Beals, Martha Deevy, Annamaria Lusardi, and Olivia Mitchell
This module obtains a self-rating of the respondent financial knowledge, followed by questions to ascertain: (1) respondent understanding of basic financial transactions; (2) respondent susceptibility to fraudulent investment opportunities; (3) whether the respondent has been approached by someone encouraging them to invest in a dubious "opportunity"; and (4) whether the respondent followed that advice.
Module 3: Financial Advice and Capacity at Older Ages
Hugh Kim, Raimond Maurer, and Olivia Mitchell
This module obtains a self-rating of the respondent's financial knowledge, followed by questions to ascertain whether respondent and/or spouse partner have help managing their finances.
Module 4: Material Hardship
HRS module on material hardship: Explores current conditions of respondent's home.
Module 5: Subjective Conditional Probabilities of Working
Michael Hurd, Susann Rohwedder, Robert Willis, Pamela Giustinelli, Gabor Kezdi, and Matthew Shapiro
For respondents < age 65, this module examines the relationship between the respondent's current as well as future health status and her/his likelihood of working two and four years into the future.
Module 6: Long-term Care (LTC) Expectations
Pamela Giustinelli, Charles Manski, and Francesca Molinari
Determines what respondents feel about their future chances of either purchasing long-term care insurance or going into a nursing home given various assumptions, and of having dementia. This module also examines what respondents mean when they give particular responses to "0 to 100 percent chance" questions.
Module 7: Medication Non-Adherence
Karen Farris, Souhiela Fakih, Teresa Salgado, and Peter Batra
This module explores six common but somewhat serious health conditions and respondents’ behaviors and concerns related to taking medications as prescribed for these conditions.
Module 8: Religious Life Histories
Zachary Zimmer, Mary Beth Ofstedal, Chi-Tsun Chiu, Carol Jagger, and Yasuhiko Saito
Religious Life histories: Questions about religious and spiritual experiences that the respondent may have had during childhood/before age 16.
Module 9: Affordable Care Act
James Jackson, Khari Brown, and Ronald Brown
This module obtains information on: (1) respondent attitudes concerning the Affordable Care Act (ACA); (2) other health care policies; (3) whether the ACA had any direct on the respondent's own health care; and (4) media sources for ACA information.
Module 10: Coordinated Care
Respondents are asked about interactions with their health care team: regular doctor/nurse practitioner/physician's assistant, nurses, care coordinators, pharmacists, or other health professionals.
HRS 2014 Core
Module 1: Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a common event throughout the lifecourse, although good quality epidemiological data are lacking in the United States. TBI has always been an important problem in civilians, being related to many important exposures, including involvement in motor vehicle crashes or certain physically hazardous occupations. Head injuries are also more common among crime victims, prisoners, substance abusers and others with psychiatric illnesses. Many older persons experience falls and many of these episodes are associated with head and brain trauma. Current interest arose with the large number of returning military personnel and veterans who experienced head injury in active combat. There are many acknowledged outcomes of TBI that are central to HRS’ mission, including physical function, depression and other psychiatric disorders, accelerated cognitive decline in older age, social role participation, behavioral health and processes, health-related quality of life and neuropsychological impairment.
Module 2: Time Discounting
Raimond Maurer, Olivia Mitchell, and David Huffman
This module seeks to measure peoples’ willingness to voluntarily defer claiming of Social Security benefits, and potentially to work longer, depending on incentives to delay claiming the benefit. When to claim Social Security benefits is a key financial decision for millions of household. These retirement benefits are currently provided as a lifelong benefit stream; some workers may prefer to trade a portion of that income in exchange for a lump sum amount. The goal is to examine whether people might be willing to delay claiming Social Security benefits in exchange for different compensation options. The module contains two sets of questions. The first, for respondents over 70, asks if they would prefer a smaller payment now versus a larger payment in 12 months. The second, for respondents 70 and younger, additionally explores leisure preferences by asking whether they would be willing to work longer in exchange for larger benefits in the future.
Module 3: Decision Making
JoNell Strough, Andrew Parker, and Wändi Bruine de Bruin
Decisions made in mid-life and old age have important consequences for health and financial well-being. Yet, relatively little is known about the mechanisms that may underlie age-related differences in decision making. One theory posits that, as people age they experience systematic changes in motivation. A main driver of this is their future time perspective – beliefs about time left in life. With age, views of the future become less expansive—there is a greater focus on limitations and lesser focus on opportunities. Importantly, restricted time horizons motivate people to maximize positive, emotionally meaningful experiences in the “here and now,” whereas expansive time horizons motivate people to gain knowledge that facilitates pursuit of long-term future goals. In this module, respondents are randomly assigned a time horizon of Expansive, Restricted, or Control and then are presented with decisions about everyday situations. A short sequence at the end captures each respondent’s outlook on the availability of time left in their lives.
Module 4: Health Behaviors
Laura Zettel-Watson and Melanie Horn Mallers
Little is known about the types of technology used, its purpose, or frequency of use as it relates to health maintenance; less is known regarding the role it might play in facilitating the health and well-being among older adults. This module examines the role technology may play in helping older adults maintain their health and independence. The questions assess the types, purposes, and frequencies of use of a variety of common health-related technological devices and tools that allow communication with others regarding personal health; examples include text messaging, email, video chat software, and internet browsing. Examining data from this module in conjunction with data from the main survey will allow researchers to investigate the impact these technologies have on social support and social network access and ultimately the role technology may play in enhancing social connections and health.
Module 5: Expectations
Robert Willis and Peter Hudomiet
Researchers are interested in respondents’ familiarity with and understanding of the stock market, and their perceptions of its history over time. Initial questions attempt to assess respondents’ understanding of percentages as predictors. The next sequence is a wording difficulty experiment in which a random half of the sample gets complex (and more precise) and the other half gets simpler (but more ambiguous) questions. The final questions attempt to assess respondents’ knowledge of familiar investment types by comparing the historical rates of return for bonds versus stocks over a long time span.
Module 6: Meaningful Work
Michael Steger, Gwenith Fisher, Lindsay Ryan, and Amanda Sonnega
This module assesses how meaningful people judge their work to be or to have been. There are two areas of “meaningful work” research that are relevant to HRS. One is using meaningful work to better understand labor force behavior of older adults such as sustained participation in the workforce, career commitment, low intent to quit current jobs, and decisions to retire or to keep working past normal retirement age. The other is expanding upon what is known about the relationship between meaningful work and health and well-being. A number of studies have observed that people who are participating in meaningful work report greater well-being and lower levels of psychological distress; other research has linked meaningful work to health outcomes such as physical health symptoms and mortality among older adults. This module will help researchers understand if meaningful work predicts better health and well-being among older adults, whether they are still working for pay or not.
Module 7: Family History of Mental Health
Kara Zivin, et al
The goal of this module is to provide information that would aid in the understanding of mental health conditions among HRS participants by enhancing the utility of the genotype information collected by the study. In this module, respondents are asked whether they have ever had any of eight common mental health conditions and what treatment they had for up to two conditions. The remaining questions explore the occurrence of the same conditions in the respondent’s immediate family and the relationships of the affected family members to the respondent. Research has shown that having a fuller picture of respondent experiences with close family members can provide useful information on risk of potential severity of respondent mental disorders.
Module 8: Alcohol Use and History
Iain A Lang
Alcohol use and misuse is an increasing public health problem in the older US population. This module enables analyses on three aspects of alcohol consumption not covered elsewhere in the HRS. First are items that provide information about the current frequency and quantities of different types of alcohol consumed. Second, questions about age of onset of alcohol consumption and alcohol consumption in teenage years, early adulthood and middle age that complement the HRS core interview will allow researchers to capture lifetime patterns of alcohol consumption and to link them to cognitive decline and risk of dementia. And third, questions are included on the social context of alcohol consumption and on whether alcohol is consumed with meals. Resulting data will improve researchers understanding of the dynamics and consequences of alcohol consumption both at “safe” and at higher levels in older adults and will allow increased understanding of potential mechanisms underlying the apparently beneficial health effects of moderate alcohol consumption.
Module 9: Culture and the Arts
Melissa Menzer and Sunil Iyengar
Recent studies suggest that participation in the arts is associated with improved well-being among older adult populations, such as the enhancement of self-esteem and life satisfaction, the improvement of mental functioning, the reduction of maladaptive social behavior, and the increase in social activity participation. This module attempts to address the limitations of existing studies in order to fully understand the benefits the arts can provide to older adult populations experiencing cognitive and physical declines. Understanding why someone participates in the arts may affect the benefits he/she derives from participating, or knowing with whom a person participates may also provide insight into the intended benefits from participating. In addition to including questions about attendance at cultural events and the respondent’s own involvement in the arts, the module include measures on the enjoyment from and motivations for participating, as well as the social context in which participation takes place.
Module 10: Financial Management Capacity and Practices Among Older Adults
Bob Wallace, Naomi Karp, and Josephine Gittler
Module 10 explores whether respondents have help handling their own finances and the extent to which they have made plans for others to handle their finances should they become unable to do so. The sequence includes questions about appointment of a Power of Attorney, whether the respondent has set up a living trust, whether a guardian has been appointed to handle the respondent’s money, whether the R or their spouse/partner have joint accounts with other people such as their children, and whether they have granted permission for their financial information to be shared. For each of these items there are follow-up questions about who the respondent has authorized to be responsible – a child or children, a banker, lawyer, financial consultant, or other person. For respondents who have joint accounts with others, there is a sequence about how they view the potential expenditure of the money in those accounts.
Module 11: Longevity and Retirement
Robert J. Willis, Matthew Shapiro, Gabor Kezdi, Pamela Giustinelli, Brooke Helppie McFall, Michael Gideon, and Peter Hudomiet
This module has two separate sequences based on the age of the respondent. The first is asked only of people below age 65 who work or who plan to work for pay in the future, and attempts to gain additional understanding of individuals’ retirement decisions. Respondents are asked hypothetical questions that attempt to get at how the following factors influence their retirement plans: an increase or decrease in earnings, more flexible work hours, changes in retirement wealth, and changes in expected length of life. The sequence for respondents 65 and older focusses on longevity expectations and explores approaches that differ from the longevity expectation questions in the core instrument. Questions ask about the respondent’s chances of living X more years where X is a fill value based on R’s current age and gender. Other questions give the respondent information about other people his/her gender and age and ask about R’s chances of living Y years longer than that where Y is another age-and-gender based fill.
HRS 2012 Core
Module 1: Prospect Theory
Daniel Gottlieb and Olivia Mitchell
Module 1 asks a number of questions designed to measure whether individuals are differentially averse to losses than they are favorable to gains, in the context of having to make risky decisions. The majority of these questions ask whether one would agree to a particular investment, given varying information about the cost and payout. These questions are based on prospect theory, which was originally formulated by Kahneman and Tversky (1979) and extended by Tversky and Kahneman (1992). It is a widely used theory of choice under risk. The sample assignment for this module is random.
Module 2: Utilization of Home-and Community-Based Service, and Life Space
Kristin Robinson and Moon Choi
Module 2 is comprised of two different parts. Part 1 asks whether and how frequently people use various home and community-based services and whether the programs are publicly funded. Services include congregate meal programs, home-delivered meals, transportation services, case management services, homemaker or housekeeping services, unpaid caregiving, and receiving caregiving support services. Part 2 asks about life space, specifically the mobility of individuals in their environment from one place to another, within their home or outside of their home. The sample assignment for this module is random.
Module 3: Technology Use: Barriers and Benefits
Lindsay Ryan, Jacqui Smith, James Jackson and Toni Antonucci
Module 3 asks respondents about their usage of various information technologies, including email, internet, social networking, smart phones, as well as other types of technology. Questions ask users to rate their satisfaction with these technologies, and ask non-users about reasons for not adopting the technology
Module 4: Nutrition Assessment
This module shares sample with Module 5. Module 4 is asked of respondents age 70 or older whereas Module 5 is asked of respondents who are less than age 70. Module 4 asks a number of questions about nutrition and eating habits. This includes self-rated overall nutrition status, quantity of food generally consumed, and recent weight loss, as well as the quantity of specific types of foods consumed, including dairy, meat, eggs, fruits and vegetables, and fluids.
Module 5: Worksite Health Promotion
This module shares sample with Module 4. Module 5 is asked of respondents who are less than age 70, currently working for pay, and not self-employed for their primary job. Module 5 asks a series of questions about whether various health screening and health promotion programs are offered at the respondent’s work location, and whether he or she participated in each of the different types of programs.
Module 6: AD Diagnosis and Financial Planning
Joanne Hsu, Robert Willis, Ken Langa, and Scott Kim
Module 6 asks respondents about the likelihood that they, and their spouse or partner, will develop Alzheimer’s disease either within the next five years or sometime in the future. Respondents are then asked about the likelihood that they would take various financial and estate planning steps (e.g., setting up a durable power of attorney, advanced directive, obtain long term care insurance, etc.) if they knew they would develop Alzheimer’s disease. The order in which some questions are asked and the planning horizon (e.g., within the next five years or sometime in the future) varies randomly across respondents.
Module 7: Long Term Care Insurance
Michael Hurd and Susann Rohwedder
This module asks a variety of questions about long-term care insurance, including knowledge and familiarity with this type of insurance. If individuals already have long term care insurance, the module asks about length of time with insurance. If individuals do not have long term care insurance, they are asked how likely they are to obtain this kind of insurance and the importance of various characteristics of long term insurance plans. Toward the end of the module, individuals are asked to rate five different long term care insurance plans based on varying levels of quality and cost. The sample assignment for this module is random.
Module 8: Stereotype Threat & Unfair treatment
Cleopatra Abdou, Adam Fingerhut, and James Jackson
This module asks respondents whether they feel judged by doctors or other medical staff on the basis of their race/ethnicity, gender, age, weight, religion, and how much money they have, and whether such judgments affect the quality of medical care they receive. Additional questions ask about perceptions of various stereotypes and relationships with others.
Module 9: Human-Animal Interaction
Regina Bures et al
Module 9 asks respondents about their experience in having pets, including how many and what types of pets they have. Respondents with dogs are asked about dog walking behavior. Non-pet owners are asked about reasons for not currently having a pet as well as past experience as a pet owner.
Module 10: Happiness
Miles Kimball and Daniel Benjamin
This module first asks respondents about their overall level of happiness, likeliness of engaging in meditation if they knew it would make them happier, and likelihood of taking on a 10-hour per week side job. Next, participants are assigned to one of six scenarios (A – F) and asked additional questions regarding their level of happiness and well-being in response to each of these scenarios. Assignment within this module is primarily random, except that only respondents who not retired are eligible to be asked Scenario A in this module.
Module 11: Hedonic Wellbeing
Module 11 asks respondents to report the time they woke up and went to sleep yesterday, and rate how they felt using twelve different words. The order of the words was presented to respondents in one of six different ways.
HRS 2010 Core
Module 1: Possessions
Module 1 is a short, very straightforward module that asks about how respondents are dealing with their possessions -- whether they have reduced the amount of possessions, if family members have encouraged them to do so or helped them go through belongings. The sequence also explores the role that possessions plays in respondents' feelings about moving to a new home if that were needed. The sample assignment for this module is random.
Module 2: Health literacy
This module attempts to find out how well respondents can read and interpret medical information and directions. For face-to-face respondents, a series of "cards" such as one might receive from a doctor or clinic visit are shown, and the respondent is asked a question based on the information on the card. This portion of the module is a subset of questions asked in the 2009 Internet survey and taken from the Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (TOFHLA). In addition, face-to-face respondents are asked to read aloud a set of words one might encounter in a doctor's office or in health-related articles. The interviewer enters whether each word was correctly pronounced or not; the words are a short version of a list from the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine, or REALM. Telephone respondents will be asked an adapted-for-telephone version of the S-TOFHLA (Short-TOFHLA) items. Both face-to-face and telephone respondents are asked how confident they are filling out medical forms as well as a series of questions designed to ascertain the respondent's knowledge about colon cancer. The sample assignment for this module is random.
Module 3: Alzheimers
This module explores respondents' knowledge and beliefs about Alzheimer's disease. Current theories of health behavior emphasize the important role of illness perceptions in health decision-making and suggest that understanding older adults’ knowledge about Alzheimer's disease, their beliefs about its causes, the perceived threat it poses to them will help predict how people are likely to behave and suggest areas of focus in health education efforts. The module asks first if the respondent has a close family member who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and then assesses respondents concern about getting the disease themselves. This is followed by a series of true-false statements that explores respondents' knowledge and beliefs about how the disease affects those who have it. The final set of questions asks about the importance of various factors that increase (e.g. stress, genetics) or decrease (e.g. diet, exercise) one's chances of getting Alzheimer's disease. The sample assignment for this module is random.
Module 4: Disaster preparation
This module focuses on the preparedness of the respondent's household for a natural or man-made disaster. Questions address household members' fire preparedness, and their awareness of other disaster preparedness materials and programs. A short sequence focuses on any medical or mobility difficulties that the respondent's own situation might present in the event an evacuation were needed. Finally, the availability of emergency communications equipment, transportation, and people to assist the respondent in a disaster are explored. The sample assignment for this module is random.
Module 5: Personality
Angela Lee Duckworth
For this module the researcher has selected items from three different personality scales to include in her question sequences. The first five items are from an interestingly-titled "Grit Scale"; these items look at personality traits that are not strongly related to intelligence but are strongly predictive of achievement. The next three items examine self-discipline and have been selected from a 13-item scale called the "Brief Self-Control Scale". The remaining sixteen items are from a longer set of self-discipline items that the researcher herself has been developing and validating. These items relate to everyday activities that people may do on occasion such as "buy things on impulse" or "avoid physical exercise". The sample assignment for this module is random.
Module 6: Pain
Module 6 asks about respondents' experience with an episode of pain that occurred within the past year and that lasted longer than a week. Specifically, it asks about the duration of the pain episode, its main cause, the severity of the pain at different points in the pain episode, and the extent the pain impacted normal activities including work, social, and recreational activities. Respondents are also asked about the effect this pain episode has had on basic elements of well-being including sleeping, eating, dressing, and bathing. The final set of questions explores what the respondents did to relieve the pain and how effective those efforts were. Respondents who have not had a "qualifying" pain episode are skipped to the end of the module. The sample assignment for this module is random.
Module 7: Credit cards
Annamaria Lusardi and Olivia Mitchell
This module addresses respondents' use of credit cards as well as their basic understanding of economics and how interest works. It begins by asking how many credit cards the respondent and spouse have and the total current debt on those cards. Next are eight true-false questions about the respondents' pattern of use with their credit cards over the previous 12 months, ranging from how timely their payments are to whether they sometimes pay just the minimum payment and whether they used their credit cards for a cash advance. Respondents who report not having any credit cards are skipped to a question about whether R is concerned about having to face bankruptcy in the next 2 years, followed by three questions that explore the respondent's understanding of interest. The final question is about how urban an area R lived in when he/she was a young adult. The sample assignment for this module is random.
Module 8: Financial literacy
Olivia Mitchell, Annamaria Lusardi, Miles Kimball, and Tyler Shumway
This module attempts to explore respondents' familiarity with simple financial knowledge using some of the same questions that were asked in a 2008 module. Since the respondents who were assigned the Financial Literacy module in 2008 (module 8) will be assigned to this module in 2010, a comparison can be made between people's knowledge now and their knowledge at the time before and around the 2008 decline of the stock market. This module also contains questions that get at more advanced knowledge of investments and the stock market, including some questions about savings account interest and inflation as well as about safer versus riskier investment strategies. There is a series of questions about whether respondents' plan to invest in the stock market and their reasons for investing or not; a couple of questions explore respondents' stress and fears about money. Eight true-false questions explore the respondent's beliefs about various basic investment strategies; each question in this series has two different randomly assigned wording variations. For example, one such question is "If the interest rate falls, bond prices will [rise/fall]"; some Rs will be read "rise", and others "fall". The final question, about whether R ever had any economics or classes, will be asked only of those we didn't ask in 2008. The sample assignment for this module for re-interview Rs will be the same sample that assigned to this module in 2008 plus new respondents who have been randomly assign to it.
Module 9: Proxy reports
In a change from asking modules only of self-interview respondents, this module asks proxies about observed changes in the respondent's physical and mental capabilities in the last several years. Coupled self-respondents are asked about changes in their spouse or partner. The first question asks respondents to rate their spouse/partner and proxies to rate the respondent's general health; this report can be compared with the respondent's report of their own health. The next two questions focus on changes in respondents' mobility and ability to dress and bathe themselves. But the bulk of the questions are about changes in R's ability to function well mentally. They focus on such areas as changes in R's memory, judgment, ability to learn new things, and his/her handling of financial responsibilities. Both spouse/partner proxies and non-spouse/partner proxies are asked about changes in the respondent, and coupled respondents are asked about their spouse/partner. Only uncoupled self respondents are asked to report changes they have observed in themselves. The sample assignment for this module includes those randomly assigned to it and doing a self interview plus all proxies.
Module 10: Altruism
Module 10 is an exploration into respondents' likelihood of behaving in an altruistic fashion depending upon the social context of the situation. It does so by posing eight hypothetical situations in which the respondent is given a certain amount of money (either $100 or $1,000 which is determined randomly) that can either be all kept, all given away, or divided up by the respondent who can keep some and give some to a recipient. In the latter case, the respondent is asked how he or she would divide up the money. In the five situations the hypothetical recipient of the gift varies, starting with two charities having different focuses, followed by R's children or other relatives, next by a friend or neighbor of R, and ending with asking what the respondent would do if the recipient were the an anonymous person. The sample assignment for this module is random.
HRS 2008 Core
Module 2: Annuities and lump sum payments
Module 3: Breast and prostate cancer screening
Carrie Levin, Jack Fowler, and Mick Couper
Module 4: Weight history
Dawn Alley and Beth Soldo
Module 5: Quality of care
Module 6: Coping strategies
Module 7: Transfers
John Laitner and Amanda Sonnega
Module 8: Financial sophistication and investment decision making
Miles Kimball, Tyler Shumway, Annamaria Lusardi, and Robert Willis
Module 9: Retirement behavior
Susann Rohwedder and Adeline Delavande
Module 10: Dental health, access to care and utilization
HRS 2006 Core
Module 1: Financial preparedness
Steven Haider and Melvin Stephens, Jr.
Module 2: Risk aversion
Miles Kimball and Mary Beth Ofstedal
Module 3: Parents' and siblings' health and long-term care use
Kathleen McGarry and Beth Soldo
Module 4: Valuation of health insurance benefits
Jody Schimmel, Helen Levy, and David Weir
Asks whether respondent would drop employer-paid health insurance coverage if given an increase in current pay.
Module 5: Medicare valuation
Opinions on Medicare coverage options.
Module 6: Characteristics of the home environment
Emily Freedman, Emily Agree, and Mary Beth Ofstedal
Module 7: Subjective probabilities of health-related events
Module 8: Informed consent with Alzheimer's disease patients
Scott Kim and Ken Langa
Elicits opinions about research on people with Alzheimer's with respect to informed consent issues.
Module 9: Cognition - number series
Jack McArdle and Willard Rodgers
The purpose of this module was to broaden the content domain currently assessed in the HRS to include "fluid intelligence." The specific purpose was to see if we could achieve reasonably informative test scores by using a small subset of items from the Number Series task adapted from the new WJ III using adaptive testing methodology. The task administered in HRS 2006 was identical to the one included in HRS 2004. More detail about the rationale for, development of, and administration details of this task is available in the Ofstedal, Fisher, & Herzog (2005) HRS Cognition documentation report (http://hrsonline.isr.umich.edu/docs/userg/dr-006.pdf)).
Module 10: Cognition - retrieval fluency
Jack McArdle and Willard Rodgers
The purpose of this module was to broaden the content domain currently assessed in the HRS to include "fluid intelligence." The specific purpose was to see if we could achieve reasonably informative test scores by using a retrieval fluency task adapted from the Woodcock Johnson III test battery. A random sub-sample of HRS respondents was selected and asked to complete the Retrieval Fluency module after the standard HRS survey. Half of the sample for this module came from the sample that was selected to receive the number series module in 2004; the other half was selected randomly from the remaining sample of self-respondents in 2006.
HRS 2004 Core
Module 1: Risk Aversion
This module will ask between two and four questions about respondents’ preference between two types of investments: a bond fund that has a certain outcome, and a mutual fund that has two possible outcomes. The specific questions, and the possible outcomes of the two types of investment, will vary considerably from one respondent to another, depending in part on what is already known about the respondent and partly by random assignment
Module 2: Annuities and Retirement System Knowledge
This module will be asked only of respondents under age 65. The first several questions ask about Social Security benefits: for example, how long must a worker pay into Social Security to become eligible, adjustment of Social Security benefits for inflation, and expected percent of pre-retirement income that Social Security will pay. There are two or three probability questions in the same format as those in Section P. There also some “risk aversion” questions: would the respondent give up half of his or her monthly Social Security check in exchange for a one-time lump-sum payout? And given the choice between an immediate prize, and a larger prize if it is taken a year later, which would the respondent choose?
Module 3: Secondary Causes of Disability
This module will be asked only of respondents age 65 and older, and is intended to elicit by direct self report a set of medical conditions and situations associated with the progression of disability. The first set of questions asks whether a doctor has ever told the respondent that he or she has particular conditions, such as anemia, carpal tunnel syndrome, or a bone fracture. A second series asks whether the respondent has experienced any of a series of problems, such as dizziness, stiffness, or difficulty breathing. There are then a question or two about the use of equipment to help with walking, and finally questions about experience of emotions in the past year.
Module 4: Asset Ownership
This module is asked only of respondents who are either married or living with a partner. The questions asked depend in part on whether the respondent is the financial R for the household and on previous reports of assets. The intention is to find out more about how a couple’s assets are assigned: do both members of the couple own them jointly, or are some assets owned by one member of the couple?
Module 5: Probability Alternative to Bracketing
Robert Willis and Michael Hurd
Instead of the “unfolding” questions that are asked when respondents say that they don’t know how much income they get from a particular source or how much a particular asset is worth, the questions in this module ask respondents to use the probability scale (as in Section P) to assess the chances that the income from Social Security, or the value of their house, is more or less than a particular amount.
Module 6: Loneliness, Stress, and Social Support/Burden
This module is assigned to the same respondents to whom it was assigned in 2002. The questions in this module ask about respondents’ feelings of loneliness and of the support they receive from their spouse or partner (if they have one), other people they live with (if any), and their friends. This could be a somewhat depressing set of questions for some respondents, so try to follow it with more upbeat conversation
Module 8: Retirement Planning
Annamaria Lusardi and Olivia Mitchell
For those respondents who are not retired, the questions in this module ask about steps they have taken to prepare for retirement. For those who are already retired, the questions ask about what they did prior to their retirement. In addition, there are some questions about interest accumulation and the impact of inflation on savings.
Module 9: Norms on Transfer Behavior
Beth Soldo, Jere Behrman and Hans-Peter Kohler
This module has questions about children with special needs, and about whether the transfers to and from such children differ from those for other children. Another series of questions asks about how R would dispose of a gift of $10,000, and what, if any, expectations the respondent would have for the person to whom they passed along that money. And a final series asks how the respondent would deal with the inheritance of a summer cottage.
Module 10: Occupational Health
Robert Wallace and Gwenith G. Fisher
This module is asked only of those who are under age 65 and who are currently working for pay. The initial questions in this module ask how the respondent feels about various aspects of his or her job and workplace, such as safety and hours. Later questions ask about the interplay between job and personal life: for example, does job stress interfere with family and personal activities, and does the respondent get support from his or her family that increases their confidence on the job.
Module 11: Arthritis and Health Behaviors
This module is asked of those age 65 and older, and of younger respondents who are not currently working for pay. It is intended to obtain more detail about arthritis and arthritic symptoms that are obtained in the core interview, including the specific type of arthritis the respondent has, and steps such as medication or weight loss that a doctor may have recommended. In addition, smokers are asked whether a medical professional has ever advised them to stop smoking, and if so if they have ever tried to stop; those who drink alcohol are asked if a medical professional has talked to them about their drinking behavior; all respondents are asked if they have seen an ophthalmologist or optometrist in the past two years, and whether a health provider has spoken to them about their physical activities.
Module 12: Cognition
This module is another test of cognitive ability, and one that is more difficult for some respondents than those in Section D. In each question, you will read some numbers, and ask the respondent to tell you the number that is missing from that series. Sometimes the missing number will be at the end of the series, sometimes at the beginning, and sometimes in the middle. Occasionally, there will be two missing numbers. Unlike the instructions for the tests in Section D, you should encourage the respondent to use paper and pencil for this test, to write down each set of numbers. Respondents will be asked up to six questions. The difficulty of the first question you ask a respondent will vary, depending on how well they did on one of the tests in Section D; and depending on whether the answer to each question is correct or incorrect, each subsequent question will be either easier or harder. The consequence is that almost all respondents will probably miss at least some of the questions, and in fact may find some of them very difficult. You should reassure the respondent that these are indeed difficult questions, and that they should not be bothered by missing some (or all) of them.
HRS 2002 Core
Module 1: Self-assessed health utilities
Module 1 asks for a self-rating of health between 0 (death) and 100 (perfect health for your age/a 20yr old). It then uses bracket-like techniques to assess willingness to trade years of life for perfect health, based on comparing two fictional persons with health similar to respondent .
Module 2: Willingness to pay for disease prevention
David Weir, et al
This module assesses willingness to pay (dollars) for prevention of cancer or Alzheimer's disease.
Module 3: Restless leg syndrome, night leg cramps, and neck and shoulder pain
Module 3 measures symptoms of restless leg syndrome (associated with sleep problems and health consequences of sleep problems) and of neck and shoulder pain.
Module 4: Risk aversion
Miles Kimball and Matthew Shapiro
This module repeats previous module questions about large risk aversion to be paired with questions about small risk aversion asked in the core.
Module 5: Internet use
This module asks about use of computers and of the Internet on the respondent's current or previous job, and/or at home. For those who use the Internet, there are additional questions about what non-job-related things they do on the Internet.
Module 6: Loneliness, stress and social support/social burden
Linda Waite, John Cacioppo, and Mary Elizabeth Hughes
This module assesses negative well-being in three of its dimensions. It has twice the sample size of others, hence it also takes the place of module 7. It is part of an analytic project under an NIA-funded program project at the University of Chicago, and was developed in consultation with HRS. The questions in this module ask about respondents' feelings of loneliness and about the support they receive from their spouse or partner, other household members, and friends.
Module 8: ELSA health questions
John Henretta and Emily Grundy
Questions from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing similar to those in Section C; designed to provide a cross-reference between health items asked in the ELSA and the HRS.
Module 9: Numeracy
This module tests additional numeracy items, and uses a 6-way design to test for context effects across four types of mathematical skills. Each math item is couched in three contexts: health, economic/market, and context-free, and respondents are assigned to pre-designated combinations so that they receive each math problem only once. It also overlaps with an ELSA proposal to develop numeracy measures for large surveys.
Module 10: Positive well-being
This module builds on the work of Powell Lawton and others to assess the extent of positive feelings about life and health.
Module 11: Later life education
This module asks about educational activities in later life.
Module 12: Subjective uncertainty about stock market returns.
Robert Willis, Michael Hurd, et al
This module assesses the respondent's full distribution of expectations of one-year stock market returns by asking for probabilities that the return would be above or below specified levels.
HRS 2000 Core
Module 1: Medicare knowledge
Module 1 asks questions and presents hypothetical situations to ascertain respondents' knowledge about HMO and non-HMO Medicare and about sources of their information about Medicare.
Module 2: Alternative medicine
This module covers respondents' recent and past use of herbal or other dietary supplements and medications, treatments by chiropractors, massage therapists, or acupuncturists, and spiritual practices that may be related to health.
Module 3: Planning and expectations for retirement
Module 3 asks about activities R may have undertaken to plan for retirement; the questions are slightly different for those who are already fully retired than for those still anticipating full retirement. A short set of questions at the end are designed to get at R's propensity towards planning ahead.
Module 4: Economic altruism
This module is designed to ascertain a measure of the R's willingness to give regular financial assistance to help out relatives and friends at varying levels of need, as well as to charities.
Module 5: Benevolence and obligation
This module asks about R's self-perception as a giver to others, and his or her reasons for giving, especially as it relates to giving to family members.
Module 6: Request for health plan booklet
Module 6 is the request for R's health plan booklet to help assess the possibility of using this method to obtain details of R's health insurance coverage. This module appears in Section R of the core instrument.
Module 7: Health utilities index
This module implements the Mark III version of the Health Utilities Index. Problems with vision, hearing, mobility, hand and arm use, mental functioning, general discomfort, and outlook on life are assessed. Domain scores and overall utility preference scores will be computed.
Module 8: Tolerance for large and small risks
Module 8 gets at R's willingness to take financial risks by posing a set of hypothetical situations and asking R to report what he or she would do in those situations. Part of the module is asked in section H – the "expectations" section -- at H18 and H19.
Module 9: Alcohol consumption and HRS Wave 1 IADL measures
A very short module with a few questions about difficulties of everyday activities and alcohol consumption, and 1 question in section B.
Module 10: Proxy validation
Module 10 repeats selected questions asked in sections B, C, and E about R's health and daily activities, but asks the R to answer these questions about his or her spouse/partner; the intention here is to be able to look at the agreement between R and Spouse reports of health problems of one of them.
Module 11: Social altruism
This module asks about R's connectedness to other people and the emotional support available to R from their spouse/partner, adult children, parents and parents-in-law, and friends.
Module 12: Valuing health.
Module 12 asks respondents to compare their present state of health to perfect health using a standard time- tradeoff question valuing health in terms of years of life, and a similar willingness-to-pay question valuing health in terms of money.
HRS 1998 Core
Module 1: AHEAD 1993 ADL Questions
Based on AHEAD 1995, wave 2, module 1. Most respondents who were asked to do this module in 1998 were asked to do the same module in AHEAD 1995. This module contains questions about difficulty and the use of equipment and help in activities of daily living. These questions were part of the core questions in AHEAD 1993.
Module 3: ADL Measures Used for the Longitudinal Studies of Aging (LSOA)
Based on AHEAD 1993, wave 1, module 3. Most respondents who were asked to do this module in 1998 were asked to do the same module in both AHEAD 1993 and AHEAD 1995. This module contains the ADL questions used in AHEAD 1993 and AHEAD 1995, which were in turn based on those proposed for (and subsequently used in) the second LSOA.
Module 4: ADL Measures Used for the National Long-Term Care Study (NLTCS)
Based on AHEAD 1993, wave 1, module 4. Most respondents who were asked to do this module in 1998 were asked to do the same module in AHEAD 1993; this was not a module in AHEAD 1995.
Module 5: The 1990 Census ADL questions
Based on AHEAD 1993, wave 1, module 5. Slightly less than half of the respondents who were asked to do this module in 1998 were asked to do the same module in AHEAD 1993 (most of the rest were asked to do module 6 in AHEAD 1993); this was not a module in AHEAD 1995.
Module 10: Cognitive Section for Proxy Interviewed Sample Members
Also included in the module section, although not actually a module, is a section labeled module 10. It is a section of the interview that is administered to sample persons for whom proxy interviews were done, but are willing and able to do this section themselves.
HRS 1996 Core
Module "All": Consumption and anchoring
This module contains questions on food consumption, as well as questions designed to assess the degree to which the responses to unfolding brackets are affected by the level of the entry point (i.e. the "anchoring effect". To yield adequate sample sizes these questions were asked of all respondents.
Module 1: Health during childhood
This module contains question on the individual's health when they were growing up (from birth to age 16), on parental family composition and on their parental family's economic status. These data have been analyzed by Irma Elo, 1997, who found significant associations between socioeconomic status and health in childhood and adult health status. Parental family composition, on the other hand, was not found to be associated with adult health status.
Module 2: Health pedigree
This module contains questions on the individual's health pedigree--whether the individual's parents are still living, the cause of death if deceased, health status if living, and cause and age of death of any deceased siblings.
Module 3: Personality inventory
This is a brief personality inventory based on the respondent's rating of how closely each of 12 descriptive words fits the respondent.
Module 4: Medicare attitudes and preferences
This module attempts to measure respondents' attitudes and preferences toward Medicare. It includes questions on whether the respondent would prefer various cash equivalent dollar payments to Medicare insurance. It is thus a form of contingent valuation.
Module 5: Volunteerism and time use
This module includes questions on volunteerism and on time use. The respondent is asked how many hours he spent last year on ten types of volunteer activities ranging from help religious organizations to helping neighbors. Similarly the hours spent in eleven time-use activities ranging from television watching to reading are obtained.
Module 6: Preference parameters for consumption saving and labor supply
This module attempts to understand the respondents' preferences toward consumption, saving and labor supply by asking about their behavior if they won a hypothetical sweepstakes which would pay them an amount equal to their current family income for life.
Module 7: Advance directives
This module contains questions on advanced directives and respondents preferences toward a hypothetical cancer treatment under a variety of costs and treatment success rate assumptions.
Module 8: Attitudes toward inter-familial transfers
This module contains questions on the respondents' willingness to give financial help to parents and/or siblings under a variety of hypothetical situations. These data, in conjunction with those from HRS 2 Module 7, are designed to help understand altruism .
Module 9: Retirement planning
This module asks about retirement planning and saving for retirement and contains a question intended to measure the extent to which the respondent understands compound interest. It asks about the extent to which the respondent relies or plans to rely on Social Security, employer provided pension plans, IRAs 401k or Keogh plans and private savings. For retirees it contains questions on the adequacy of savings.
Module 10: Saving for retirement
Contains questions on the current level of savings for retirement and on the reliance or expect reliance on public, private and personal sources of income in retirement.
AHEAD 1995 Core
All AHEAD 1995 Modules: Unfolding brackets with different entry points
Each of the modules includes questions designed to assess the importance of anchoring effects in unfolding questions about dollar amounts. In each case, respondents were asked about the amount of money they had in savings accounts, and about total household consumption in the past month. The "entry point" varied across the modules.
Module 1-2: Wave 1 ADL questions
The questions about difficulty and the use of equipment and help in activities of daily living that were asked in AHEAD Wave 1 were modified in Wave 2. To facilitate analysts who wish to take account of these wording changes when examining changes in responses across waves, a random subsample (double the size of the other modules) were asked the Wave 1 version of the ADL question (as well as the revised ADL questions that were asked in the main interview).
Module 3: LSOA2 ADL questions
This is the same as Module 3 on Wave 1, and was asked of the same respondents in both waves.
Module 4: Security and safety
This module contains questions about the subjective probability of being the victim of a crime and steps taken out of concern about crime.
Module 5: Sleep
This module includes questions about trouble falling asleep and staying asleep through the night, problems of falling asleep during the day, and the use of medications to aid sleep. It also includes two questions about the sense of personal control.
Module 6: Living wills
Questions are asked about end-of-life directives, whether or not the person has named anyone to make health care decisions for them if they are unable to do so themselves. The respondents were also presented with two scenarios for someone with a life-threatening illness who is presented with the choice of taking an experimental treatment with randomly varied cost and probability of success.
Module 7: In-depth ADLs
This is the same module (6) as in Wave 1, and was asked of the same respondents in both waves.
HRS 1994 Core
Module 1: CES-D depression scale
The version of the CES-D Depression Scale included on the Wave II instrument is a substantially truncated version of the scale used in Wave I. This module is a methodological experiment designed to assess the degree to which the Wave II scale loses information compared to the Wave I scale. The module has been analyzed by Dianne Steffick who finds that apparent increase in depression between Waves 1 and 2 is almost certainly do to the change in the scale for "all of the time/most of the time/some of the time/none of the time" to "yes/no".
Module 2: Crystallized intelligence
We decided to eliminate the similarities test (a test of crystallized intelligence) in the basic survey, on the grounds that crystallized IQ is not expected to change with any rapidity in the age-range we are considering, and is expected to change more slowly than memory. The similarities test in this experimental module is exactly the same test as contained on the Wave I survey.
Module 3: Functional health
This module is a methodological test of the Wave II functional health scale compared to the Wave I scale. As noted earlier, Wave I comprised a 4-point scale associated with level of difficultly in performing various activities, while telephone interview considerations led us to develop Wave II as a 2-point scale to be followed by a second 2-point scale in the event of a "some difficulty" response. The experimental module uses the original 4-point scale designed for a personal interview environment.
Module 4: Long-run income elasticity of labor supply (Spending And Saving)
The long-run response of labor hours to changes in household income is a parameter of considerable interest to labor economists. A labor supply parameter relating to income change is difficult to observe in the real world, and the experimental module is designed to set up a hypothetical set of circumstances that will yield pure estimates of income elasticity. The hypothetical illustration concerns the effect of a windfall gain on labor hours, along with measures that will generate an assessment of the strength of an altruism parameter.
Module 5: Risk aversion
Wave I contained a measure of risk aversion based on responses to a hypothetical situation involving alternate jobs and respondents' willingness to take jobs with various risky characteristics. The experimental module on Wave II is an attempt to refine our risk aversion measure by observing the distribution of risk aversion at the extremes of the distribution, where the Wave I data suggest most of the sample actually resides.
Module 6: Social support
This is a set of questions about sources of social support for the respondent, including spouses, friends and co-workers.
Module 7: Parent-child transfers
This module examines motivations for transfers from parents to children. It is intended to aid in the analysis of preference parameters, specifically altruism.
Module 8: ADLs
This module is designed to get some early baseline data on the incidence of activities of daily living (ADL) deficiencies in the sample, and to find out who the ADL helpers are. Part of the module asks about future needs for ADL help, as well as whether respondents perceive themselves to be at risk of helping someone else in ADLs.
Module 9: Activities and time allocation
Part of the attraction of retirement is the ability to divert time from market work to other activities, and this module is an attempt to assess the strength of some of the pull toward retirement that can be attributed to the desire to reallocate time to non-market time issues.
Module 0: Nutrition
This module asks respondents to report on the frequency they eat foods from the various major food groups. The lists of food types is fairly detailed distinguishing, for instance, red meats from other meat and from fish.
AHEAD 1993 Core
Module 1: Resilience
A subset of respondents assigned Module 1 were asked an innovative sequence designed to measure the concept of resilience, defined as the individual's ability to recover quickly and completely from any misfortune or challenge.
Module 2: Time use
This module contains a set of questions on unpaid but economically productive activities -- home maintenance, volunteer work, and informal help to others. Together with core questions on paid employment, these questions (adapted from Herzog et al., 1989) permit a balanced assessment of the productive contributions of older adults.
Module 3-4: Alternative ADLs
The issue of comparability or equivalence of alternative functional health measures is an important one because of the wide-spread use of ADL measures in policy research. Module 3 contains the ADL questions which were been proposed for (and subsequently used in) the second LSOA; Module 4 replicates the ADL function items on the NLTCS screen. (Reference: Rodgers, Willard L. and Baila Miller. 1997. "A Comparative Analysis of ADL Questions in Surveys of Older People." Journals of Gerontology, Social Sciences 52B(Special Issue):21-36. )
Module 5: WAIS Similarities
The core AHEAD measures of cognitive functioning reflect basic orientation and processing skills and the ability to learn new information. These measures do not assess the dimension of abstract reasoning which is thought to decline less precipitously with age. Abstract reasoning also may serve as an important compensatory cognitive skill. The WAIS Similarities is a widely used measure of abstract reasoning and replicates the scale in the core HRS 1 interview (Wallace and Herzog, 1995). This module also included two ADL questions that are asked in the U.S. Census long form. (Reference: Wallace, Robert B. and A. R. Herzog. 1995. "Overview of the Health Measures in the Health and Retirement Survey." The Journal of Human Resources Volume 30 (Supplement 1995):S84-S107. )
Module 6: Quality of life
In combination with other health measures, quality of life variables can be used to describe the psycho-social consequences of declining health. The conflict between quality of life concerns and medical care may be particularly common among the oldest old for whom comorbidities often necessitate invasive, painful, time-consuming, or expensive medical regimes. A focus on the essential quality of life issue -- whether life is still worth living --underlies the questions in this module which were adapted from unpublished work by Lawton (personal communication, 1993) and from the purpose-in-life subscale of Ryff's Subjective Well-Being Scale, 1989. In addition to the quality of life items, a few questions on mastery and personal control from Pearlin and Schooler (1978) are included in the module.
Module 7: In-depth ADLs
Research on cognitive, psychomotor, and psychological functioning indicates that there is considerable potential for adapting to and compensating for declining functioning among the elderly. Specific compensating mechanisms include a change in the ways an activity is performed, increasing the time allotted for completing the activity, lowering standards for the completion of an activity, and modifying the immediate environment to facilitate performance (Keller, et al., 1993). In order to explore whether such adaptive mechanisms account for a lack of reported difficulty with bathing despite obvious physical or cognitive impairments, Module 6 probes various detailed adaptive strategies for bathing. Because financial issues are a central concern in AHEAD, comparable questions on adaptation and performance of financial management activities appear at the end of Module 6.
Module 9: Financial pressure
There is considerable interest in the ways in which financial pressures structure the live
s of the elderly. Module 9 asks respondents to indicate if they find it difficult to pay their bills or if they cut back on non-medical expenses, such as eating out or traveling . This module also asks about the perceived fairness of policy alternatives for making long-term care in nursing homes more accessible to older people.
HRS 1992 Core
Module A: Physiological Measurements of Health and Functioning Status
Vital capacity as measured by Peak Expiratory Flow Rate (PEFR) and grip strength were measured to provide a means of validating self reports. The PEFR data have been analyzed by Swallen, 1997, and were found the be strongly associated with self-reported lung disease, overall self-rated health, smoking status, education and income. Using longitudinal data from Wave 1 and 2 Swallen also found the PEFR data to precedes the onset of disabilities. (Reference: Swallen, Karen C. 1997. "Peak Expiratory Flow Rate in the Young Elderly: Health and Wealth." Presented at the annual meetings of the Gerontological Society of America, November 1997. )
Module B-C: ADL Measures Used on the National Long- Term Care Study and on the National Health Interview Survey
These data were collected to provide researchers with a cross-walk' which would allow the HRS ADL measures to be recalibrated to better correspond to the ADL measures in these alternative studies.
Module D: Meta-memory
A battery of questions used to assess Meta-Memory, along with the Census Bureau screen question used for the presence of ADL limitations.
Module E: Process benefits
This module consists of a set of 10-point scales on intrinsic satisfaction from work, housework, and various types of leisure. These data have been analyzed by Hill, 1998, and were found to be significant predictors of retirement between HRS Waves 1 and 2. The satisfaction ratings for the seven activities investigated load on to two distinct factors--sociability and domesticity. They are also significantly and systematically related to background factors (gender, education, etc.) in reasonable directions. The Job Enjoyment measure was a strong predictor of retirement between 1992 and 1996--an effect due almost entirely to the earlier retirement of those who very much dislike their jobs. (Reference: Hill, Dan. "Process Benefits Experimental Module (HRS 1 Mod E)." Internal Memo to HRS/AHEAD Researchers, Oct. 5 1998. )
Module F: Employment Alternatives
A series of questions on 10-point probability scales asking respondents about the likelihood that they can find jobs like their present job but with specified differences in characteristics different amounts of pay; greater amounts of flexibility in hours per week, weeks per year, hours per day; etc.. These data are the subject of an ongoing research project (an R03) directed by Michael Hurd at the RAND Corporation.
Module G: Parental Wealth
A set of questions asking respondents about the asset holdings of their parents, and then asking for permission to talk to the parents. Although some analysis has been done on this module by Rodgers and Herzog, the poor response to these questions has led us to abandon the idea of asking children about their parents wealth.
Module H: Occupational Injuries
A set of questions about various characteristics of work that relate to the likelihood of on-the-job injuries. These data have formed the basis of a series of analyses and journal articles (see Zwerling, et al., 1995a, 1995b, 1996a, 1996b, 1997 and 1998).
Module J: Health risks
A set of questions about the likelihood that respondents or spouses will need long-term care in a nursing home, longevity estimates relating to the spouse of the respondent, expectations about having medical care insurance at age 65 provided by an employer, and questions about the coverage of Medicare and the coverage that could be available from other types of insurance. There are also questions about Medicaid coverage and respondents' perceptions about their eligibility for Medicaid.
Module K: Substitution elasticity of consumption
This is a module that we are using for a small sample of cases at the very end of the study. It is a highly experimental measure of the intertemporal elasticity of substitution in consumption, a concept that plays a key role in economic models of life-cycle saving behavior.