Young Men Health Variables

Work-related variables. Each survey except 1967 and 1969 asked respondents whether their health limited the kind or amount of work they could do. In the early years, when some respondents had not yet entered the labor force, they were also asked whether their health limited their schooling or other activities. In most years, the respondents provided information on the duration of the limitation. The 1976 survey determined whether any of the respondent's health problems were the result of an accidental injury and whether the most serious injury occurred on the job. Finally, in 1976 and 1981, retrospective questions asked whether the respondent had ever been prevented from working for 6 or more months due to a health problem and the duration of this limitation.

A series of questions that were also asked of the Older Men asked respondents to describe the types of physical activities that their job regularly involved. In several surveys, respondents were also asked to identify specific workplace characteristics that would cause them trouble because of their health.


User Notes

Researchers should be aware that the work limitation questions were not asked in exactly the same format in every survey. In general, more complete information is available in personal interview years.

General physical health. This data collection includes information on the respondent's health status, perceived health changes over time, and the types of health-related problems and specific health conditions experienced. To provide a general overview of his health, each respondent was asked during the 1971, 1976, and 1981 surveys whether he considered his health to have remained about the same, improved, or worsened over a set period of time (e.g., the past five years). Self-reported height and weight data are available for respondents interviewed during 1973.

Several interviews included question series assessing the respondent's overall physical condition. The years in which these series were included are provided in Figure YM1.

Figure YM1. Young Men Health Question Series

Topic Questions Years
Activities that are difficult Same as Figure OM1, except seeing, hearing, and dealing with people not asked in 1971 19711, 1976, 1981
Physical problems Same as Figure OM1 19711, 1976, 1981
Working conditions that respondent would have trouble with due to health Same as Figure OM1 19711, 1976, 1981
Activities respondent does regularly at work Same as Figure OM1 1976
Assistance with daily life Same as Figure OM1 19711, 1976, 1981
1 Universe limited to respondents reporting that their health limited the kind/amount of work they could do.

Psychological well-being. In three surveys, Young Men respondents were administered an abbreviated version of Rotter's Internal-External Control Scale (1966). For additional information about the content of this scale, researchers should refer to the Older Men discussion above. The Young Men scale is constructed and scored in the same manner as the Older Men version. The reference numbers and years for the Rotter scale administration are as follows:

1968: R01377.-R01387., R01674. (total score)

1971: R03526.-R03536., R03898. (total score)

1976: R04921.-R04941. (total score not created)

Family member health. Limited information was collected about the health of the respondent's family members. In most personal interviews, the respondent reported whether his wife was limited in the amount or kind of work or housework she could do and the duration of this limitation. In 1971, 1976, and 1981, the respondent also stated whether his wife's health problem limited his own work or activities. In 1971, respondents answered the series of questions about assistance with daily life (see Figure OM1) with respect to their wives.

In the 1971 survey only, respondents were asked whether any family members were unable to work or go to school due to a health condition. If so, the respondent then stated whether the family member's health affected his own employment.

Related Variables: Questions on job satisfaction and other attitudes related to employment can be found in the "Job Satisfaction & Work Attitudes" section of this guide.

Survey Instruments: Health questions are located within the "Health" sections of the surveys. Components of the Rotter scale can be found in the "Work Attitudes" section of the appropriate survey year questionnaires.


Bradburn, Norman M. The Structure of Psychological Well-Being. Chicago: Aldine Publishing Co., 1969.

Parnes, Herbert S., Adams, Arvil V.; Andrisani, Paul J.; Kohen, Andrew I.; and Nestel, Gilbert. The Pre-Retirement Years: Five Years in the Work Lives of Middle-aged Men, Vol. 4. Columbus, OH: CHRR, The Ohio State University, 1974.

Pfeiffer, Eric, M.D. "A Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire for the Assessment of Organic Brain Deficit in Elderly Patients." Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 23,10 (October 1975): 433-41.

Radloff, Lenore Sawyer. "The CES-D Scale: A Self-Report Depression Scale for Research in the General Population." Applied Psychological Measurement 1,3 (Summer 1977): 385-401.

Ross, Catherine E. and Mirowsky, John. "Explaining the Social Patterns of Depression: Control and Problem Solving--or Support and Talking?" Journal of Health and Social Behavior 30 (June 1989): 206-9.

Rotter, Julian B. "Generalized Expectancies for Internal vs. External Control of Reinforcements." Psychological Monographs 80,1 (1966): 1-28.