• alcohol;
  • psychometrics;
  • quality of life;
  • SF-36

Accessible summary

  • • 
    The findings from this study reveal that the 36-item short-form health survey (SF-36) is a reliable and valid instrument for measuring quality of life in a variety of populations. This facilitates the decision making of nurses and other health professionals which in turn aids them to utilize the SF-36 with added confidence and assurance.
  • • 
    The main finding was that the SF-36 would probably be a reliable and valid screening tool in an alcohol-dependent population. This finding is important to those practitioners using or about to embark to use the SF-36 in this population in that it provides further evidence to enhance their practical and research experience.


A psychometric evaluation of the 36-item short-form health survey (SF-36) was undertaken in contemporary studies to assess its suitability for use in an alcohol-dependent population. Three criteria were used to try and determine this: factor analysis, internal consistency reliability and test–retest reliability. Factor analysis revealed that it is mainly consistent with a bidimensional model, internal consistency reliability showed that it consistently provided scores above the recommended threshold and test–retest reliability of the SF-36 highlights that it too provided higher than suggested scores. A conclusion was reached recommending the SF-36 as a reliable screening tool in an alcohol-dependent population, but this is given in caution as no studies were found analysing the instrument in this population.