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Recent Abstracts

Medical Outcomes Study SF-36

Name of Questionnaire

MOS 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (MOS SF-36)


Generic health-related quality of life measure. The instrument is used widely to evaluate HRQL across various populations 4 .


AL Stewart, R Hays, JE Ware and RAND Corporation 2 .


  1. The Medical Outcomes Trust
    20 Park Plaza Suite1014
    Boston, MA 02116
    Phone: 1-617-426-4046
    Fax: 617-426-4131
    Also available from the RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA
  2. Europe, Africa, Asia, Central & South America:
    Mapi Research Institute
    27 rue de la Villette
    69003 Lyon, France



Cost & availability

Contact Medical Outcomes Trust or the RAND Corporation


Self, interviewer

Time to complete

5 minutes

Number of items


Domains & categories


Name of categories/domains

Physical functioning; role limitations due to physical health problems; bodily pain; social functioning; general mental health; role limitations due to emotional problems, vitality, energy or fatigue; general health perceptions.

Scaling of items

Variable scaling for different questions including: Excellent, very good, good , fair, poor; Limited a lot, limited a little, not limited at all; Yes/no; Not at all, slightly, moderately, quite a bit, extremely; None, very mild, mild, moderate, severe, very severe; All of the time, most of the time, a good bit of the time, some of the time, a little of the time, none of the time; and others.


8 domain scores and overall physical and mental health component summary scores


a. Test-retest/reproducibility Reported 9
b. Internal consistency Reported 9


After adjusting for age, there were significant but weak correlations between FEV1, % predicted and SF-36 subscales, including physical functioning, physical role limitations, pain, general health perceptions, and change in health 9 . Discriminant validity demonstrated through differentiation between patients of 5 levels of asthma severity 9 .



Research use


Clinical use



The acute version (1-week recall period) has also been used in asthma 7 .


Original: English (US)

Translations: Dutch, Spanish8, Swedish, French, German, Italian, Danish, Japanese


  1. Ware JE, Sherbourne CD. The MOS 36-item short form health survey (SF-36). I. Conceptual framework and item selection. Med Care 1992;30:473-483.
  2. Stewart AL, Greenfield S, Hays RD, et al. Functional status and well-being of patients with chronic conditions. JAMA 1989;262:907-913.
  3. Tarlov AR, Ware JE Jr, Greenfield S, Nelson EC, Perrin E, Zubkoff M. The Medical Outcomes Study: an application of methods for monitoring the results of medical care. JAMA 1989;262:925-930.
  4. McHorney CA, Ware JE Jr Lu JFR, et al. The MOS 36-item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36): III. Tests of data quality, scaling assumptions, and reliability across diverse patient groups. Med Care 1994;32:40-66.
  5. Mahler DA, Faryniarz K, Tomlinson D, Colice GL, Robins AG, Olmstead EM, O'Connor GT. Impact of dyspnea and physiologic function on general health status in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Chest 1992;102:395-401.
  6. Blumenschein K, Johannesson M. Relationship between quality of life instruments, health state utilities, and willingness to pay in patients with asthma. Ann Allergy Asthm Immunol 1998;80:189-94.
  7. Ware JE Jr, Kemp JP, Buchner DA, Singer AE, Nolop KB, Gross TF. The responsiveness of disease-specific and generic health measures to changes in the severity of asthma among adults. Qual Life Res 1998;7:235-44.
  8. Alonso J, Prieto L, Ferrer M, Vilagut G, Broquetas JM, Roca J, Batlle JS, Anto JM for the Quality of Life in COPD Study Group. J Clin Epidemiol 1998;51(11):1087-94.
  9. Bousquet J, Knani J, Dhivert H, RIchard A, Chicoye A, Ware Je Jr, Michel F-B. Quality of life in asthma. I. Internal consistency and validity of the SF-36 questionaire. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 1994;149:371-5.
  10. Ware JE, Sherbourne CD. The MOS 36-item short form health survey (SF-36). I. Conceptual framework and item selection. Med Care 1992;30:473-483.

Date of information

March 1999

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