12-Item Short Form Survey (SF-12)

Original Editor - Evan Thomas

Top Contributors - Lauren Lopez and Evan Thomas

Objective

The SF-12 is a self-reported outcome measure assessing the impact of health on an individual's everyday life. It is often used as a quality of life measure.

The SF-12 is a shortened version of it's predecessor, the SF-36, which itself evolved from the Medical Outcomes Study[1]. The SF-12 was created to reduce the burden of response[2].

The SF-12 uses the same eight domains as the SF-36:

1) Limitations in physical activities because of health problems.

2) Limitations in social activities because of physical or emotional problems

3) Limitations in usual role activities because of physical health problems

4) Bodily pain

5) General mental health (psychological distress and well-being)

6) Limitations in usual role activities because of emotional problems

7) Vitality (energy and fatigue)

8) General health perceptions

Intended Population

Like the SF-36, the SF-12 is designed as a general measure of health so can be used with the general population.

Method of Use

Patients fill out a 12 question survey which is then scored by a clinician or researcher.

Unlike the SF-36, the SF-12 is not available for free by its authors, due to a scoring programme. However, there is an online calculator here that uses the first version.

There is a scoring guide for both versions available here.

Evidence

Like the SF-12 has been tested in a range of disease populations, including mental health, stroke, and myocardial infarction.

Validity

When compared to the SF-36 in various patient groups varying in age, physical and mental health, the SF-12 scores were similar to the SF-36 but almost always had bigger standard errors[3].

A separate study[4] compared the SF-12 to the SF-36 in treatments for congestive heart failure, sleep apnoea and inguinal hernia. The authors found that the SF-12 agreed with the MCS and PCS of the SF-36, noting that the scores recorded the same level of health and change over time.

A third study of responses from nine European countries also confirmed correlation between SF-12 and SF-36 component summaries and recommended the SF-12 to be useful for assessment of large populations[5].

Responsiveness

The SF-12 has been shown to reflect change over time like the SF-36[4].

Miscellaneous

There are two versions of the SF-12 which have some differences in scoring so it is recommended that users document which version they are using.

Resources

References

  1. Ware J. SF-36 Health Survey Update. Spine. 2000. 25; 24: 3130-3139.
  2. Rand Health Care. 12-Item Short Form Survey (SF-12). Available from: https://www.rand.org/health-care/surveys_tools/mos/12-item-short-form.html. (Accessed 29 February 2020).
  3. Ware J, Kosinski M, Keller SD. A 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey: construction of scales and preliminary tests of reliability and validity. Med Care. 1996. 34; 3:220-33.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Jenkinson C, Layte R, Jenkinson D, Lawrence K, Petersen S, Paice C, Stradling J. A shorter form health survey: can the SF-12 replicate results from the SF-36 in longitudinal studies? Journal of Public Health. 1997. 19; 2: 179-186. Accessed 29 February 2020.
  5. Gandek B, Ware J, Aaronson N, Apolone G, Bjorner J, Brazier J, Bullinger M, Kaasa S, Leplege A, Prieto L, Sullivan M.. "Cross-validation of item selection and scoring for the SF-12 Health Survey in nine countries: results from the IQOLA Project." Journal of clinical epidemiology. 1998. 51;11: 1171-1178.