The 2002 NATSISS includes people aged 15 years or over. There are a number of questions used to establish disability status and disability type. A person was regarded as having a disability or long-term health condition if they had one or more of a number of conditions, which had lasted, or were likely to last, for six months or more and which limited or restricted that person’s ability to perform everyday activities. People identified as having a disability or long-term health condition were then asked further questions to establish their level of limitation in one or more ‘core activities’ of daily living (self-care, mobility and communication; see Appendices 3 and 4 for further details).
Differences in the survey between remote and non-remote areas
In order to take account of language differences and life circumstances, the questions used in remote areas differed slightly from those used in non-remote areas. While some common criteria were used for both areas, some additional questions were used to identify people with a disability in non-remote areas. This slightly larger set of questions has been termed the ‘broader’ or ‘additional' criteria (see Appendix 3 for details). Respondents in remote areas were not asked about conditions that restrict physical activity or work (e.g. back problems, migraines); disfigurement/deformity; mental illness requiring help or supervision; or restrictions due to a nervous or emotional condition(s). The omission of the first two questions may have resulted in an underestimate of Indigenous people with a physical disability in remote areas, while the omission of the second two questions means that the 2002 NATSISS did not explicitly identify persons in remote areas with a psychological disability. Some people in remote areas with a psychological disability will have been correctly identified as having a disability (and therefore included in the total of people with a disability) if they reported that they were receiving medical treatment or taking medication for a restricting health condition, but the type of disability cannot be determined from this information alone.
In order to include all respondents from the 2002 NATSISS (from remote and non-remote areas), the majority of tables in this chapter are based on the disability populations identified using the common criteria i.e. the more restrictive criteria used in remote areas (see Appendix 3 for details of criteria used).
In this chapter, where the common (more restrictive) criteria relating to measurements in remote areas have been used, whether for remote areas, non-remote areas or in total, the restricted scope of the measures should be kept in mind. In those sections of the chapter that examine the relationships between disability and various life areas, the patterns found would not differ substantially for the non-remote areas if the broader criteria were used instead of the common criteria.
The broader criteria are used in making comparisons with the non-Indigenous population (from the 2002 GSS), and in two sections that examine disability status for Indigenous people in non-remote areas in more detail.