To test the psychometric properties of the Chinese (Taiwanese) version of the short form 36 health survey (SF-36), 1,439 women, aged 40-54 years and living in Kinmen (a Taiwanese island reflecting a predominantly rural community) were recruited to participate in this survey. The rate of unavailable data points for the 36 tested items remained consistently low, and item-discriminate validity was high (95%) for all subscales. Cronbach's alpha coefficient remained above the 0.70 threshold criterion for all scales except for social functioning and bodily pain. Principal components analysis supported the two major dimensions of health, physical and mental, in the internal structure of the SF-36 scales, although the dimensions did not match the hypothesized association very well. Poorer health profiles were associated with physical and mental conditions. The mental health subscores in the SF-36 test correlated highly with the associated hospital anxiety and depression score (Spearman rank correlation coefficient = -0.62). In conclusion, the reliability and validity tests performed on the data collected support the cross-cultural application of the Chinese (Taiwanese) version of the SF-36 test.