Why don’t the WG questions use the word “disability”?

‘Disability’ is a word whose meaning can vary not only across cultures but among people in the same culture.  Moreover, in some cultures the term is associated with shame and/or stigma. In order to avoid casting the questions in a negative frame or light and to reduce response variability due to differential understanding of the term, more neutral language needs to be used.  In addition, rather than ask directly about disability per se, the focus of the questions is on functioning. The domains of functioning covered are both basic and universal; they are common to all countries and cultures and evidence has shown that they are recognized by people in different languages.  The use of the term disability in the questionnaire or in interaction between the interviewer/enumerator and the respondent will reintroduce variability in how the term is understood including introducing stigma and can reduce or eliminate the validity of the questions set.

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