Measuring Health in a Longitudinal Education Study

  • Johann Carstensen
  • Anja Gottburgsen
  • Monika Jungbauer-Gans


When analyzing health in an educational study, there are some methodological aspects and problems that must be considered. In this paper, we address questions of data quality in the measurement of health outcomes. It is possible that data quality can be biased by social desirability since questions on health (e. g., on eating disorders or body height and weight) are fairly sensitive items, and accordingly, the impact of the privacy of the setting increases with the sensitivity of the questions. Therefore, we expect mode effects resulting from the way the data are collected. Following a methodological discussion of these issues, empirical analyses are presented. We compare the measuring of body height, weight, BMI, and the likelihood of having an eating disorder in the NEPS with data from reference studies (KiGGS and GEDA from 2010) carried out by the Robert Koch Institute. To conduct the analysis of BMI, we use the Kindergarten cohort, the ninth graders, and the adults’ cohort. The eating disorder scale is compared for ninth graders only. The results show some differences between NEPS data and the reference data, which point towards an influence of the interview situation. In about half of our comparisons, no significant deviations between the datasets can be found. A short section describes some further thoughts on endogeneity problems.


Anorexia Nervosa Eating Disorder Bulimia Nervosa Body Height Ninth Grader 
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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johann Carstensen
    • 1
  • Anja Gottburgsen
    • 1
  • Monika Jungbauer-Gans
    • 1
  1. 1.HannoverDeutschland

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