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The Journals of Gerontology: Series B





Recent research indicates that survey interviewers’ ratings of respondents’ health (IRH) may provide supplementary health information about respondents in surveys of older adults. Although IRH is a potentially promising measure of health to include in surveys, our understanding of the factors contributing to IRH remains incomplete. Methods

We use data from the 2011 face-to-face wave of the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, a longitudinal study of older adults from the Wisconsin high school class of 1957 and their selected siblings. We first examine whether a range of factors predict IRH: respondents’ characteristics that interviewers learn about and observe as respondents answer survey questions, interviewers’ evaluations of some of what they observe, and interviewers’ characteristics. We then examine the role of IRH, respondents’ self-rated health (SRH), and associated factors in predicting mortality over a 3-year follow-up. Results

As in prior studies, we find that IRH is associated with respondents’ characteristics. In addition, this study is the first to document how IRH is associated with both interviewers’ evaluations of respondents and interviewers’ characteristics. Furthermore, we find that the association between IRH and the strong criterion of mortality remains after controlling for respondents’ characteristics and interviewers’ evaluations of respondents. Discussion

We propose that researchers incorporate IRH in surveys of older adults as a cost-effective, easily implemented, and supplementary measure of health.


Author Posting. © The Authors 2017. This article is posted here by permission of Dana Garbarski for personal use, not for redistribution. The article was published in The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, gbx146,

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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