• Vol. 31 No. 3, 366–374
  • 15 May 2002

Measuring Health-related Quality of Life in Singapore: Normal Values for the English and Chinese SF-36 Health Survey



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Objective: To determine norms for assessing Health-related Quality of Life (HRQOL) in Singapore using the Short Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36).

Materials and Methods: Mean SF-36 scores were calculated for 24 population subgroups (categorised by age, gender, ethnicity and questionnaire language) and for subjects with self-reported co-morbid conditions using data from a community-based survey in Singapore.

Results: The English and Chinese SF-36 was completed by 4122 and 1381 subjects, respectively, 58% (n = 3188) of whom had self-reported co-morbid conditions. SF-36 scores varied in subgroups differing in age, gender and ethnicity. In general, subjects with self-reported co-morbid conditions had lower SF-36 scores than those without these conditions, the magnitude of which exceeded 20 points in several instances. A method for calculation of SF-36 scores adjusted for age, gender, ethnicity and questionnaire language is described.

Conclusion: We present norms for English and Chinese SF-36 versions in Singapore and describe potential uses for these data in assessing HRQOL in Singapore.

Advances in diagnosis and therapy in the second half of the 20th century have lead to impressive improvements in survival for patients with many chronic illnesses. With improvements in survival, patients’ perceptions of health are increasingly being recognised as an important outcome in clinical medicine, especially in illnesses where therapies, though improving survival, may be associated with significant morbidity.

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