The Short Form (36 ) Health Questionnaire is a disease- non-specific measurement tool to collect health-related quality of life. The SF -36 is widely used in medicine for the monitoring of therapy or during measurement. In addition, in health economics and to the study of health-related quality of life in humans. The original SF -36 was developed by the RAND Corporation as part of the so-called Medical Outcomes Study ( MOS). Since then, a group of researchers has developed the questionnaire and released a commercial version of the SF -36. The original version of the SF -36 is available under a public domain license at RAND. The commercial and public use of the version of the SF -36 are structurally the same. The differences lie mainly in the assessment of the question elements.


The SF -36 consists of eight scales assessed together with domains that correspond to the weighted sums of the answers in each section. The value range of each scale comprises 0-100 taken under the assumption that each question in the arc has the same weight.

The eight domains of the SF-36 are:

  • Vitality
  • Physical Function
  • Physical pain
  • General health perception
  • Physical role function
  • Emotional role function
  • Social functioning
  • Mental wellbeing


The SF -36 can describe the individual medical condition of the patient and to measure and compare disease- related burdens in the course. Of increasing importance is the SF- 36 in the health economic analysis to evaluate the benefits of medical therapies. In addition to the SF -36 and derived quality of life with twelve arches (SF -12 ), eight (SF -8) or six (SF -6 ) Questions exist.


The questionnaire does not consider the influence of sleep on quality of life. In older people over 65 years of SF -36 is less suitable.

German version

The German version of the SF- 36 was used among other things in the National Health Survey in 1998 and normed on a sample of 6964 people.


Further Reading

  • Brief reports to the SF -36 quality of life questionnaire (Version 1.0 ) (PDF, 1.6 MB)