The SF-36 questionnaire (Short Form Health 36) version 1 is a further development of the Short-Form 20 score from the Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) in 1988.1-4It was modified in 1996 with regards to some item formulations and possible answers resulting in the SF-36 v2.0, the version that is in widespread use.5
The SF-36 consists of 36 questions and is a general health questionnaire yielding a profile of two health component summary measures through assessing the patient’s health status using 8 different dimensions:
vitality – 4 questions
physical functioning – 10 questions
bodily pain – 2 questions
general health perceptions – 5 questions
role limitations due to physical health– 4 questions
role limitations due to emotional health – 3 questions
social role functioning – 2 questions
mental health – 5 questions
When evaluating the SF-36 questionnaire, it is important to consider which version of the questionnaire is used, as there are minor differences between v1.0 and v2.0 concerning the scoring.
For evaluation of the SF-36 questionnaire v1.0, all answers are first converted into predetermined points using a scoring key. The average score of all questions of the respective health dimension, e.g. physical health, is then calculated so that 8 average scores are obtained for the 8 dimensions. These describe the patient’s state of health in the respective dimensions, which can then be assessed using comparison tables.
The possible score ranges from 0 to 100 points whereby 0 points represent the greatest possible limitation of health, while 100 points represent the absence of health restrictions.6
Component analysis of the SF-36 displays two distinct concepts: a physical dimension, represented by the Physical Component Summary (PCS), and a mental dimension, represented by the Mental Component Summary (MCS) (Lins et al., 2016).7
For evaluation of SF-36 v2.0 no publicly accessible information is available currently (see license part below).