1200.0.55.001 - Disability Variables, 2006  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/10/2006  First Issue
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Contents >> SEVERITY OF DISABILITY >> Introduction


1. The standard variable 'Severity of disability' identifies the number of people in a survey population who have a disability or a need for assistance with core activities (namely, mobility, self care and communication), the degree to which that need or disability limits the person's ability to attend to those core activities for him or herself, and whether or not the person has any education or employment restrictions. It is obtained by interview and uses a series of questions called the Disability Module to first establish the presence of effects of any long-term health conditions, limitations or restrictions, and then to ascertain the extent to which these require the person to be assisted to carry out the three core activities.

2. This standard variable should be used in all interviewer-based collections which collect information on particular characteristics of 'people with a disability' but do not have a specific focus on disability. Due to differences in the methodology used in different collections and consequent differences in the number of screening questions, use of prompt cards etc, the ABS advises against using data collected with the Disability Module to compare the proportion of a total survey population assessed as having a disability, with the proportion of the total population of disability-specific surveys assessed as having a disability.

3. The Disability Module comprises 12 questions and instructions. It is used to collect 'Severity of disability'. Conceptually this includes as a subset the relatable Census concept and standard variable 'Core activity need for assistance'. The Indigenous Social Survey Remote Areas Collection uses a shortened but relatable compatible version of the Disability Module.

4. The ABS first collected data from a disability-specific survey called the Handicapped Persons Survey in 1981. In subsequent surveys, questions and concepts have been revised and enhanced, and the title of the survey has been amended to the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC). The questions and concepts used in SDAC form the basis for all other ABS collections of disability data and are closely aligned with the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), 2001. The aspects of disability documented in this standard do not encompass the full scope of the concepts documented in the ICF, and nor do they contain guidelines to the detailed SDAC collection. However, data collected using this standard or the related standard 'Core activity need for assistance' are compatible at the broadest 'component' level of the ICF, namely the Activities and Participation component. The data are also relatable to the more detailed data collected by the SDAC. The appendix to this standard provides a table which illustrates the specific questions and modules of the SDAC to which components of the Disability Module are relatable.

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