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Disability Research Instruments

The Craig Hospital Inventory of Environmental Factors (CHIEF)

CHIEF Manual

The The Craig Hospital Inventory of Environmental Factors (CHIEF) and its Short Form (CHIEF-SF) were designed to measure those things that keep a person from doing what he or she needs to do. It is well known that the type and severity of a disability can affect what an individual is able to accomplish. So can things like health, weight, education, and motivation. But, there are also factors that are beyond the person that can have a very great impact too – factors like the physical surroundings and accessibility, attitudes and support of others, resources that are available, rules and regulations of organizations, and even government policies. CHIEF is one of the first forms designed to look at these environmental factors and how they can affect people with disabilities.

Both CHIEF forms ask questions designed to track the frequency (how often are they encountered?) and magnitude (how severe are they?) of each potential environmental barrier. For each question, the frequency score is multiplied by the severity score to give a total. These totals are then averaged over all of the CHIEF question to give a Total CHIEF score. These two surveys were designed to be used in large surveys, and are equally useful for both individuals with and without disabilities. The information collected in these surveys can be used to understand how the type of disability may or may not affect the type of environmental barriers that are encountered, what kind of barriers are most common in a particular community, and which are most problematic. Ultimately, this information might help policy makers to make the changes needed to minimize the effect of barriers on all people. In fact, Craig researchers used the CHIEF and a CHIEF Follow-up Questionnaire to interview 330 Colorado residents, (55% with disabilities and 44% without disabilities). These 330 people identified 1085 specific examples of environmental barriers. For both people with disabilities and those without disabilities, the number one barrier was weather – both hot and cold temperatures and snow, sleet, and ice. The second most common barrier reported by both those with disabilities and those without disabilities was lack of support by family.

Although the CHIEF is still relatively new, it is being translated into other languages and is being used in countries around the world. For a copy of the CHIEF survey, or for more information about the CHIEF, how it was developed, and how to administer and score it, please go to CHIEF Manual.