Short Form 12 (SF-12)

The SF-12 is one of the most widely used instruments for assessing self-reported health-related quality of life. It was originally developed from the Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) 36-item Short-Form Health Survey SF-36. The SF-12 covers the same eight health domains as the SF-36 with substantially fewer questions, making it a more practical research tool.1

Questionnaire content of the SF-12

The SF-12 is a general health questionnaire that consists of 12 questions which investigates the patient’s state of health via 8 different dimensions:

  1. General health perception – 1 question

  2. Physical health – 2 questions

  3. Limited physical role function – 2 questions

  4. Physical pain – 1 question

  5. Vitality – 1 question

  6. Mental health – 2 questions

  7. Limited emotional role function – 2 questions

  8. Social functioning – 1 question

It should be noted that there have been 2 versions of the Short Form 12 questionnaire, SF-12v1 and SF-12v2.

Currently, only the SF-12v2, the newer version, is officially available.

Implementation of the SF-12


The biggest advantage of the SF-12 compared to its original questionnaire, the SF-36, is its length. It has been shortened by 66.7%, retaining the majority of validity as its predecessor.1-3 Thus, it is much easier to implement in clinical research and patient care, as patients require approximately 2.5 minutes to answer it.4

Furthermore, the SF-12 has been validated in numerous studies and is an established score.2,3,5-11


Since the SF-12 is only a short version of the SF-36, it is not able to replicate the exact same validity of the SF-36. Furthermore, the statistical standard error of the SF-12 is larger.1

SF-12 License

A licence is required for the use and evaluation of the SF-12. The owners of the rights do not make any published statements on whether the licence is associated with costs.12

However, costs should be anticipated for its use. Our PRO-consultants are more than happy to provide detailed Information.


All in all, the SF-12 represents a good compromise between a reduction in patient effort or time expenditure and a high informative value. The SF-12 is therefore more suitable for everyday clinical use than for clinical studies, in which a sustained engagement plays a major role.