Health related quality of life (SF-36) survey in Butajira, rural Ethiopia: normative data and evaluation of reliability and validity

Ethiop Med J. 2004 Oct;42(4):289-97.


The SF-36 health survey, a generic measure of health related quality of life (HRQOL), has been translated, evaluated in various languages and used in over 40 countries worldwide, although it has not been used in Ethiopia.

Objective: To measure the reliability and validity of the SF-36, to establish general population norms for various sex and age groups, to describe the effects of socio-demographic factors on SF-36 scores, and SF-36 scores in patients with major mental disorders.

Methods: Following the standard procedures of forward and back translation and adaptation, an Amharic SF-36 was developed This was subsequently used in a health survey of a general rural population of 1.990 in Butajira. The instrument was also used to interview a group of patients with schizophrenia, bipolar and depressive disorders.

Results: Mean scores of all of the eight domains of the SF-36 general population of Butajira decreased (indicating poorer HRQOL) with increasing age in both males and females. The odds of being in the lowest quartile of the PCS were 3.6 times higher in those aged 40-49 years when compared to those younger than 20 years Adjusted Odds Ratio (95% CI) = 3.62 (2.32, 5.66). In both males and females, the SF-36 scores for the eight domains and the two summary scales were significantly lower among all the three cases of major mental disorders compared to the general population.

Conclusion: The SF-36 appears to be an appropriate measure for measuring health related quality of life in various population groups in Ethiopia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bipolar Disorder / physiopathology
  • Depressive Disorder / physiopathology
  • Ethiopia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychometrics / instrumentation*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Rural Health*
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology
  • Sickness Impact Profile