Blank in RELATEW variables among ATUS Data


Just wonder how the label “Blank” in RELATEW variables among ATUS data is defined and how it is different from “alone.”


While the universe of RELATEW is all who records, the coding rules for the ATUS state on page 15 that “respondents are not asked WHO they were with or WHERE they were for sleeping (0101xx), grooming (0102xx), and personal (sexual) activities (0104), as such information is sensitive for these activities.” These activities, which are “ineligible for a code assignment” therefore have blank values for RELATEW. In the 2022 ATUS, for example, 96% of “blank” responses for RELATEW correspond to sleeping and grooming activities. An additional 1.5% of “blank” responses correspond to “gap/can’t remember” activities.

In contrast, the “alone” code for RELATEW indicates that the respondent reported being alone during the activity. It is unknown who the respondent was with, if anyone, during the sensitive activities listed above.