Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Answering Phone Surveys...

I've always wanted to be randomly selected by the Nielson Ratings to monitor my television use or by Gallop to be part of one of their surveys we are always reading about.

Last night, I was "chosen" to be part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control 2007 survey on adult health. It took about 25 minutes on the phone with a very nice but very humorless interviewer.

I was asked lots of questions about my health status, a few on my opinions on smoking, a few on "the child under 18 living in my household." I was NOT asked any questions that related to sexuality, except if I had ever been HIV tested (I have), the date and year (I don't remember, he didn't like my answer of "early on in the epidemic"), and one question that listed only 4 risk factors for HIV/AIDS. I was not asked about my pregnancy status, constraceptive use, STI history, sexual behaviors, or sexual partners. I checked this morning at to read the actual questionnaires wondering if for some reason I had selected out of them -- no, this survey doesn't ask anything really about sexuality. (I know there is one survey that does, but it still seems very odd to me that it wasn't included at all.) I am happy though to report that when asked my marital status "partnered but not married was included" and I was asked neutrally the sex of the other adult in my household.

I'm basically a very healthy person, and as a former health educator, I am very committed to health promoting behaviors, so I found it easy to answer the questions on exercise (yes), smoking (no), average number of drinks a week (1 - 2), annual physical (yes), colonoscopy (yes). For some reason I'm still puzzling, I took a pound off my weight, and I'm pretty sure I underestimated my weekly television use. I have a new awareness of a desire to give a socially acceptably answer to certain questions, even on an anonymous survey. The only non-healthy response was "no, we don't have a carbon monoxide detector." (Do we need one in a house without a garage?)

Mostly though I felt fortunate and aware of my privilege when I finished. Yes, we have health, dental, and vision insurance. No, fees have not kept me from obtaining health care for myself or my son. No, I don't have asthma, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, or strokes. Neither do my parents (who are both alive and healthy.) I feel blessed and grateful for all of those, and acutely aware that they are not true for too many others.

So, Gallup and Nielson, I'm ready. (And I'll even admit to watching about 2 -3 hours of television most days.)


Anonymous said...

Yes, you need a CO detector, if you have a furnace or other devise that could produce CO.

On the question about partnered status, was there an option for poly?

Debra W. Haffner said...

They only asked the numbers of adults living in my household, not my relationship to them. So, I think there might have been...

Anonymous said...

Ah, Debra, its Nielsen, not Nielson.
From one of your college classmates who lives in DC, guess who.