US general population norms for telephone administration of the SF-36v2

J Clin Epidemiol. 2012 May;65(5):497-502. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2011.09.008. Epub 2012 Jan 24.


Objective: US general population norms for mail administration of the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form Version 2 (SF-36v2) were established in 1998. This article reports SF-36v2 telephone-administered norms collected in 2005-2006 for adults aged 35-89 years.

Study design and setting: The SF-36v2 was administered to 3,844 adults in the National Health Measurement Study (NHMS), a random-digit dial telephone survey. Scale scores and physical and mental component summary (PCS and MCS) scores were computed.

Results: When compared with 1998 norms (mean=50.00, standard deviation [SD]=10.00), SF-36v2 scores for the 2005-2006 general population tended to be higher: physical functioning (mean=50.68, SD=14.48); role limitations due to physical health problems (mean=49.47, SD=14.71); bodily pain (mean=50.66, SD=16.28); general health perceptions (mean=50.10, SD=16.87); vitality (mean=53.71, SD=15.35); social functioning (mean=51.37, SD=13.93); role limitations due to emotional problems (mean=51.44, SD=13.93); mental health (mean=54.27, SD=13.28); PCS (mean=49.22, SD=15.13); MCS (mean=53.78, SD=13.14). PCS and MCS factor scoring coefficients were similar to those previously reported for the 1998 norms. SF-36v2 norms for telephone administration were created.

Conclusion: The higher scores for NHMS data are likely due to the effect of telephone administration. The 2005-2006 norms can be used as a reference to interpret scale and component summary scores for telephone-administered surveys with the SF-36v2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Demography
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Postal Service
  • Quality of Life*
  • Reference Values
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • Telephone
  • United States / epidemiology