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A review of the measurement properties of the 36-item short-form health survey (SF-36) to determine its suitability for use in an alcohol-dependent population

Authors


C. R. Martin, School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery, University of the West of Scotland, University Campus Ayr, Beech Grove, Ayr KA8 0SR, UK, E-mail: colin.martin@uws.ac.uk

Abstract

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.

Abstract

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.

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