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Monitoring Health Outcomes Among Patients With Arthritis Using the SF-36 Health Survey: Overview

Keller, Susan D. PhD; Majkut, Tracey C. BA; Kosinski, Mark MA; Ware, John E. Jr. PhD

Development And Validation Of The Sf-36 Arthritis-Specific Health Index (Ashi)

As shown here, general health measures cover much of the content included in arthritis-specific measures, but, are they equally sensitive to changes in disease condition? We reviewed the literature on the most widely used general health measure, the SF-36 Health Survey, to see if the empirical evidence supported its validity for use in arthritis patients. As of this writing, there was no documentation of the sensitivity of the SF-36 to short-term changes in arthritic condition over the course of clinical trials and few studies that compared the sensitivity of the SF-36 to arthritis-specific measures. The empirical research reported in this special supplement contributes to the literature on the use of the SF-36 in arthritis patients and demonstrates methods of studying the validity of general health measures to monitor change in specific conditions.

From the Health Assessment Lab at the Health Institute, New England Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts.

Address correspondence to: Susan D. Keller, PhD, Research Triangle Institute, Health & Social Policy Division, 3040 Cornwallis Rd., PO Box 12194, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2194. E-mail:

© 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.