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Table 2 Description of independent variables

From: The role of parental health care utilization in children’s unnecessary utilization in China: evidence from Shaanxi province

Independent variable Explanation Note
Parental health care utilization 1. Parental outpatient visit: The paired parent used outpatient services in the past 2 weeks (Yes = 1, No = 0) 2. Parental infusion use: The paired parent used infusion during outpatient visits in the past 2 weeks (Yes = 1, No = 0) 3. Parental inpatient visit: The paired parent used inpatient services in the last year (Yes = 1, No = 0) Binary instead of count variables were employed, since only 1.71% of the surveyed parents used outpatient services more than once in the past 2 weeks and 0.46% used inpatient services more than once in the last year.
Parental socioeconomic level Per capita household expenditure last year (five equal quantiles for the poorest, poor, average, rich, and the richest) It has shown to be a better proxy for resources available than self-reported income which is more likely to be misreported [65, 66].
Children’s health insurance A child was covered by any insurance scheme (Yes = 1, No = 0) Among the surveyed children, 91.6% of the urban children were covered by URBMI and 96.9%% of the rural children were covered by NCMS. Since whether a child was under URBMI or NCMS depended on his/her residential area controlled later, we used an indicator variable for insurance status instead of specifying different insurance schemes.
Children’s need for care 1. Days of illness if a child was reported to have any illnesses or injuries in the past 2 weeks 2. Children’s height and weight (self-reported) We used the days of illness to indicate the severity of the illness and therefore the need for health care services. As the recall period for the days of illness was 2 weeks, this variable was not able to be taken into account in the analysis of the use of inpatient services in the last year.
Parental need for care Days of illness if the parent was reported to have any illnesses or injuries in the past 2 weeks Due to time inconsistency, this variable was not used in the inpatient model.
Children’s age Grouped into 0–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–11, 12–14, 15–17 years  
Children’s gender Male or female  
Children’s ethnicity Han or others  
Parental age Parental age in the survey year  
Residential areas Urban or rural  
Living region Shanbei (north), Guanzhong (central), and Shannan (south)  
Family size The number of members in a family  
  1. Note: Though parental education has been shown to be associated with children’s health care utilization in some previous studies [17, 22], we did not include this variable as it was highly correlated with parental income in our sample