Demographics, Visit and Mailer Participation, Vital Status

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Download Death Certificate Data Dictionary

Demographic data were collected at entry into the study; participation/contact data and vital status were maintained throughout a participant’s involvement in the study; death certificates were collected for decedents.


Demographic data includes sex, birth cohort, education attainment, occupation, and head of household occupation.  Because 99.4% of RBS participants are of non-Hispanic white race/ethnicity, race is denoted as white (yes/no). [Note: Information on current work and retirement history was obtained in 1986 from 5030 participants as part of Annual Mailer 4. This is the primary source of work and retirement information for the RBS cohort. Data are available in the Mailer 4 data file (see the Annual Mailers tab).]

Visit and Mailer Participation

Participation/contact data includes indicator variables for participation at each visit and return of each mailer, along with age at each of these events.  Information is also provided on first and last visit attended, first and last mailer returned, and the total number of visits and mailers for each participant.  A “last contact” variable denotes whether the last contact was a visit, mailer or death.  Age at entry into the cohort and age at last contact, i.e. last known age, are provided. 

Vital Status

Vital status is based on status at last contact and is available in the Demographics dataset (variable STATUS).  As of July 2019 overall mortality is 71.1%.  Date of death is known for all decedents.  Death certificates have been obtained for 91% of decedents.  Underlying cause of death was determined by a certified nosologist based on ICD9 codes, and is provided in the Demographics dataset, as well as the Death Certificate dataset.   Additional details from death certificates including immediate cause of death, the causal chain leading to the immediate cause of death, and other significant conditions are provided in the Death Certificate dataset.