Cognitive procedures for correcting proxy-response biases in surveys

Alexander Todorov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


To reduce survey costs, major surveys rely on self- and proxy-responses. The use of proxies can reduce data quality introducing biases in the survey estimates. This paper identifies one source of systematic differences between self- and proxy-reports: proxies' higher reliance on inferences. Using data from the National Health Interview Survey on Disability (NHIS-D), proxy-response biases were modelled by independently collected measures of cognitive inferences. Conditional likelihood judgements about a number of disabilities (e.g. likelihood that a person has a disability given another disability) predicted the conditional disability reports for proxy- but not for self-respondents (e.g. the proportion of respondents who reported difficulty learning after reporting difficulty communicating). A model of self/proxy differences was estimated on data from the 1994 NHIS-D and tested against 1995 data. The correlation between predicted and actual differences was 0.76. The correlation between predicted and actual proxy-reports was 0.95. Such research can be used to estimate and correct for systematic proxy-response biases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-224
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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