Using the SF-36 for characterizing outcome after multiple trauma involving head injury

The Pennsylvania Study Group on Functional Outcomes Following Trauma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Background The purpose of this study was to evaluate the validity of the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) for examining outcomes after multiple trauma and to investigate whether the addition of items selected to measure cognitive function could improve the sensitivity of the SF-36 for identifying differences in outcomes for patients with and without head injury. Methods One thousand two hundred thirty patients discharged from 12 trauma centers were interviewed 1 year after injury. The interview included the SF-36 supplemented with four items chosen to assess cognitive function. Results The resulting cognitive function scale is internally consistent and measures a component of health that is independent of the dimensions incorporated in the SF-36. It correlates well with established measures of brain injury severity and discriminates among patients with and without brain injury. Conclusion This study underscores the need to supplement the SF-36 with a measure of cognitive function when evaluating outcome from multiple trauma involving head injury. Further studies are needed to validate the supecific items chosen for measuring cognitive function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-534
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Trauma
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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