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BMC Public Health. 2009 Sep 16;9:341. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-9-341.

The Iranian version of 12-item Short Form Health Survey (SF-12): factor structure, internal consistency and construct validity.

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Department of Mental Health, Iranian Institute for Health Sciences Research, ACECR, Tehran, Iran.



The 12-item Short Form Health Survey (SF-12) as a shorter alternative of the SF-36 is largely used in health outcomes surveys. The aim of this study was to validate the SF-12 in Iran.


A random sample of the general population aged 15 years and over living in Tehran, Iran completed the SF-12. Reliability was estimated using internal consistency and validity was assessed using known groups comparison and convergent validity. In addition, the factor structure of the questionnaire was extracted by performing both exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA).


In all, 5587 individuals were studied (2721 male and 2866 female). The mean age and formal education of the respondents were 35.1 (SD = 15.4) and 10.2 (SD = 4.4) years respectively. The results showed satisfactory internal consistency for both summary measures, that are the Physical Component Summary (PCS) and the Mental Component Summary (MCS); Cronbach's alpha for PCS-12 and MCS-12 was 0.73 and 0.72, respectively. Known-groups comparison showed that the SF-12 discriminated well between men and women and those who differed in age and educational status (P < 0.001). In addition, correlations between the SF-12 scales and single items showed that the physical functioning, role physical, bodily pain and general health subscales correlated higher with the PCS-12 score, while the vitality, social functioning, role emotional and mental health subscales more correlated with the MCS-12 score lending support to its good convergent validity. Finally the principal component analysis indicated a two-factor structure (physical and mental health) that jointly accounted for 57.8% of the variance. The confirmatory factory analysis also indicated a good fit to the data for the two-latent structure (physical and mental health).


In general the findings suggest that the SF-12 is a reliable and valid measure of health related quality of life among Iranian population. However, further studies are needed to establish stronger psychometric properties for this alternative form of the SF-36 Health Survey in Iran.

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