Categorical Borders across Borders: Using Anchoring Vignettes to Measure Cross-National Differences in Health-Rating Style

Hanna Grol-Prokopczyk, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Mary McEniry, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Emese Verdes, World Health Organization (WHO)

Evidence indicates that self-reported health cannot be directly compared across nations, because groups differ in how they use subjective response categories. Anchoring vignettes have been proposed as a solution to this problem, since they allow for statistical adjustment of rating style, and thus for valid intergroup comparisons. However, many anchoring vignettes have not been formally evaluated. In this paper, we undertake such an evaluation of health vignettes (representing the domains of mobility, affect, pain, social relationships, vision, sleep, cognition, and self-care), using data from a diverse group of countries participating in the Study on Global Ageing and Adult Health (SAGE) and the World Health Survey (WHS). We test adherence to key statistical assumptions and identify significant cross-national differences in rating style. We conclude with recommendations for future implementations and analyses of vignettes.

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Presented in Session 189: International Perspectives on Health and Mortality