Test-retest reliability in psychiatric patients of the sf-36 health survey

Jack D. Burke, Kimberly Christie Burke, Jenny Hurt Baker, Argye Hillis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The objectives of this study were to examine the test-retest reliability of the SF-36 Health Survey (SF-36) among patients seen in an outpatient department of psychiatry, to develop a computer-administered version of the SF-36 and test the reliability compared to the paper version, and to examine the patient acceptability of the SF-36. At stage one, both the paper and computer version of the SF-36 were administered to 138 consecutive patients who had previously been seen in the department. At stage two, 61 patients returning within one month for a follow-up appointment completed either the paper or computer version both before and after that appointment as well as a study evaluation form. Reliability as measured by intraclass correlation coefficients is high for simultaneous administration of the paper and computerized versions. Reliability over a short interval (before and after the patient's appointment) is acceptable. Reliability over a longer interval between the two consecutive appointments (mean and median 18 days) also appears to be acceptable for both computer and paper versions. Three-quarters of the patients felt that the SF-36 could provide useful information to their physicians. Among psychiatric outpatients, the test-retest reliability of the SF-36 appears to be acceptable for use in outcome studies. The SF-36 can be administered using a computer without jeopardizing reliability. Both versions are acceptable for use with psychiatric patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-194
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Functional status
  • Psychiatric status
  • Reliability
  • Sf-36 questionnaire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Test-retest reliability in psychiatric patients of the sf-36 health survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this