Quality of Life Concepts

Secondary Health Conditions

The Short Form Health Survey (SF-12)

Description: A measure of perceived health (health-related quality of life [QoL]) that describes the degree of general physical health status and mental health distress [1].

Format: 12 items, derived from the physical and mental domains of the Short Form Health Survey-36 (SF-36).

Scoring: Norm-based. Separate summary scores are obtained for each of the physical and mental domains by summing across all 12 items for each. Higher scores indicate higher levels of health. Published data and norms for most health conditions in the general population have been reported for Canada and the USA.

Administration and Burden: Interviewer-administered; Self-administered. Approximately 3 minutes.

Psychometrics for SCI: In a study of veterans with SCI, the SF-12 was reported to have good discriminant function, convergent validity, and correlated strongly with the SF-36 [2].  However, a more thorough testing of its psychometric strengths is needed [2].

Languages: The SF-12 has been translated for use in over 40 languages.

QoL Concept: The SF-12 is a measure Health-Related QoL, which corresponds to Boxes B (societal standards and priorities) and C (achievements; health-related QoL) of Dijker’s Model.

Permissions/Where to Obtain: Copyrighted; The SF-12 can be purchased at the SF-36 website at: http://www.sf-36.org/.

References:

  1. Ware JE, Kosinski M, Keller SD. How to Score the SF-12 Physical and Mental Health Summary Scales. 2nd ed. Boston: The Health Institute, New England Medical Center; 1995.

  2. Andresen EM, Fouts BS, Romeis JC, Brownson CA. Performance of health-related quality-of-life instruments in a spinal cord injured population. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 1999;80:877-84.

  3. Andresen EM, Meyers AR. Health-related quality of life outcomes measures. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2000;81:S30-S45.

CLICK ON THE LISTED SECONDARY HEALTH CONDITIONS ON THE LEFT TO READ HOW THE SF-12 HAS BEEN USED WITH A PARTICULAR CONDITION


Bowel Dysfunction SCI Studies: One

  1. Hicken BL, Putzke JD, Richards JS. Bladder management and quality of life after spinal cord injury. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2001;80:916-22.

Sensitivity to Impact: Hicken et al. (2001) examined health-related quality of life (HRQoL) using the Short-Form Health Survey-12 (SF-12) among individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI; n = 53) requiring assistance for bowel and bladder management compared to persons with SCI (n = 53) with independent control of their bladder and bowel. Bowel and bladder dependent persons reported lower overall physical health but equivalent mental functioning (as assessed through SF-12) than those who were bowel/bladder independent.  However, factors other than bladder and bowel dysfunction were found to be driving the effect, such as level of completeness or number of previous hospitalizations.

Suggestions for Use: There is little evidence for the utility of the SF-12, as it only assesses mental and physical aspects. Retest and proxy reliability have not been reported, and it has been found to yield less precise scores than its longer version, the SF-36 [1]. In light of these limitations, it would be more prudent to use the SF-36 whenever possible. The SF-12 was found to have good discriminant function, convergent validity, and correlated strongly with the SF-36  [2] but more thorough testing of the psychometric properties of SF-12 is needed for the SCI population.

Despite these limitations, the SF-12 is thought to be more appropriate than the SF-36 by persons with SCI as it does not contain repeated questions about walking/climbing [2].

A few positive reports have been made regarding the tool’s ability to measure changes over time (e.g., between initial assessment and discharge).

The SF-12 has been used in several studies in persons with SCI, and endorsed as a valid measure in persons with chronic SCI [3]. The SF-12 is also collected by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Centre (NSCISC) Database.

Additional References:

  1. Andresen EM, Meyers AR. Health-related quality of life outcomes measures. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2000;81:S30-S45.

  2. Dunn J, Sinnott KA, Nunnerley J, Scheuringer M. Utilisation of patient perspective to validate clinical measures of outcome following spinal cord injury. Disabil Rehabil 2009;31:967-75.

  3. Andresen EM, Fouts BS, Romeis JC, Brownson CA. Performance of health-related quality-of-life instruments in a spinal cord injured population. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 1999;80:877-84.

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