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Open Access Research article

Normative data and discriminative properties of short form 36 (SF-36) in Turkish urban population

Yucel Demiral1*, Gul Ergor1, Belgin Unal1, Semih Semin2, Yildiz Akvardar3, Berna Kıvırcık3 and Köksal Alptekin3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Health, Dokuz Eylul University School of Medicine, Izmir, Turkey

2 Department of Medical Ethics, Dokuz Eylul University School of Medicine, Izmir, Turkey

3 Department of Psychiatry, Dokuz Eylul University School of Medicine, Izmir, Turkey

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BMC Public Health 2006, 6:247  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-6-247

Published: 9 October 2006

Abstract

Background

SF-36 has been both translated into different languages and adapted to different cultures to obtain comparable data on health status internationally. However there have been only a limited number of studies focused on the discriminative ability of SF-36 regarding social and disease status in developing countries. The aim of this study was to obtain population norms of the short form 36 (SF-36) health survey and the association of SF-36 domains with demographic and socioeconomic variables in an urban population in Turkey.

Methods

A cross-sectional study. Face to face interviews were carried out with a sample of households. The sample was systematically selected from two urban Health Districts in Izmir, Turkey. The study group consisted of 1,279 people selected from a study population of 46,290 people aged 18 and over.

Results

Internal consistencies of the scales were high, with the exception of mental health and vitality. Physical health scales were associated with both age and gender. On the other hand, mental health scales were less strongly associated with age and gender. Women reported poorer health compared to men in general. Social risk factors (employment status, lower education and economic strain) were associated with worse health profiles. The SF-36 was found to be capable of discriminating disease status.

Conclusion

Our findings, cautiously generalisable to urban population, suggest that the SF-36 can be a valuable tool for studies on health outcomes in Turkish population. SF-36 may also be a promising measure for research on health inequalities in Turkey and other developing countries.