Leveraging the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for Disability Research

DRC Brief Number 2015-03
Publisher: Washington, DC: Center for Studying Disability Policy
Sep 30, 2014
Jack Gettens, Alexis D. Henry, and Christine Clifford
The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is a public health survey that collects data on U.S. adults’ risk behaviors and health practices that can affect their health status. The BRFSS is widely used for public health research but is underutilized for disability research despite its potential to be a flexible, low-cost data source. In this brief, the authors use an example of a BRFSS-based disability study conducted in Massachusetts to describe how the BRFSS can be used for disability research. The study implemented a follow-up survey to the Massachusetts BRFSS and gathered data on the employment-related health insurance needs of individuals with disabilities. The survey is available for use by disability researchers and may be obtained from the authors, by request.