Examining the validity of interviewers' ratings of respondents' health (via Skype)

Publication type

Conference Paper


Dana Garbarski

Publication date


The self-rated health (SRH) question – e.g., “would you say your health in general is excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor?” – is one of the most widely used items to study health. Global health ratings about a respondent made by someone else may provide additional information about the respondent’s health. Recent research finds that this may be particularly true when ratings are made by non-medical personnel such as an interviewer. Incorporating interviewers’ assessment of the respondents’ health offers a cost-effective and easily obtained additional measure of health to include in surveys. However, a better understanding of what factors contribute to interviewers’ assessments of respondents’ health is needed. This study seeks to examine the validity of interviewers’ ratings of respondents’ general health status (IRH) with an experiment that varies when in a face-to-face interview the interviewer is asked to rate the respondent’s health: at the beginning of the interview before any substantive questions are asked or at the end of interview. The experiment was embedded in Wave 8 of the Understanding Society Innovation Panel (N=1,440 face-to-face interviews). We examine how the distribution of IRH and the association between IRH and other measures of respondents’ well-being varies across the experimental treatments.


Information And Communication Technologies, Survey Methodology, Well Being and Health