Quality of Life Research

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 19–26 | Cite as

A comparison of an electronic version of the SF-36 General Health Questionnaire to the standard paper version

  • Judy M. Ryan
  • John R. Corry
  • Robyn Attewell
  • Michael J. Smithson


Because of its sound psychometric properties the SF-36 General Health Questionnaire is used throughout the world, yet it is difficult to analyse and score. Using a newly developed software package, onto which any questionnaire can be loaded, we developed an electronic version of the SF-36 General Health Questionnaire. The purpose of this study is test the effect of the electronic mode of administration on the measurement properties of the SF-36. In a randomised cross-over design study 79 healthy individuals and 36 chronic pain patients completed both electronic and paper versions of the SF-36. Seventy-one percent preferred the electronic SF-36, 7% stated no preference, and 22% preferred the paper version. Completion time for the electronic SF-36 was slightly less, and there were no missing or problematical responses, whereas 44% of participants had at least one missing or problematical response in the paper version. Data entry and auditing time was 8 hours. There was less than 4% inter-version difference for any of the SF-36 sub-scales. The electronic SF-36 was well accepted and slightly quicker to complete than the paper version. We conclude that the electronic SF-36 is equivalent in performance and more effective than the paper version.

Data quality Electronic administration mode SF-36 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judy M. Ryan
    • 1
  • John R. Corry
    • 2
  • Robyn Attewell
    • 3
  • Michael J. Smithson
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyAustralian National UniversityAustralia
  2. 2.Occupational Health and Rehabilitation ServicesAustralia
  3. 3.Covance Pty LtdCanberraAustralia

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