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2020 Methodological Summary and Definitions


This report presents methodology and other background for users of the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). It gives the information needed to correctly interpret and analyze estimates from the survey. It describes the assessment of comparability to prior surveys, recommended analysis techniques, details about the construction of indicators used in NSDUH reports, sampling, weights, and alternate sources of drug use and mental health data.

Chapter 1 introduces the report. Chapter 2 describes the survey, including information about the sample design, data collection procedures, and key aspects of data processing such as development of the analysis weights. Chapter 2 also discusses methodological changes and related issues in the 2020 NSDUH in response to COVID-19, such as changes to data collection, imputation, and weighting procedures. Chapter 3 presents technical details on the statistical methods and measurement, such as suppression criteria for unreliable estimates, statistical testing procedures, and issues for selected substance use and mental health measures. Chapter 4 discusses special topics related to prescription psychotherapeutic drugs. Chapter 5 compares NSDUH to other sources of data on substance use and mental health issues, including data sources for populations outside the NSDUH target population. Chapter 6 presents a more in-depth view of special methodological issues for the 2020 NSDUH, including the results of preliminary analyses on comparability. An appendix covers key definitions used in NSDUH reports and tables.

The document is available in PDF or HTML format.

Publication Date:
October 25, 2021
Collection Date:
Report Type:
Reference Material

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2019 Methodological Summary and Definitions
Collected Date: 2019 | Published Date: September 11, 2020 | Type: Reference Material

Report Resources

Find methodology reports, crosswalks, public use files, and more on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive (SAMHDA)'s page about NSDUH.
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