The primary objectives of this research were to translate, validate, and generate normative data on the SF-36 Health Survey for use among Dutch- speaking residents of the Netherlands. Translation of the SF-36 into Dutch followed the stepwise, iterative procedures developed by the IQOLA Project. Following extensive pilot testing, the SF-36 was administered to: (1) a random sample of adult residents of Amsterdam (n = 4172); (2) a random, nationwide sample of adults (n = 1742); (3) a sample of migraine sufferers (n = 423); and (4) a sample of cancer patients undergoing active anti-neoplastic treatment (n = 485). Data quality across the four studies was consistently high. The rates of missing data ranged from 1% to 5% at the item level, and from 1.2% to 2.6% at the scale level. Multitrait scaling analysis confirmed the hypothesized scale structure of the SF-36 and associated scale scoring in all four samples. Cronbach's alpha coefficients surpassed the 0.70 criterion for group comparisons in all but one case (the Social Functioning scale in the cancer sample), with a mean alpha coefficient across all scales and samples of 0.84. Known-group comparisons yielded consistent support for the validity of the SF-36. In the two community samples, statistically significant differences in SF-36 mean scale scores were observed as a function of age, gender, and the prevalence of chronic health conditions. In the migraine and cancer samples, mean SF-36 scale scores varied significantly as a function of various indicators of disease severity. The SF-36 profiles for the two community samples were highly similar. The cancer sample yielded the lowest SF-36 scores, with the migraine sample holding an intermediate position. On-going studies will generate data on the responsiveness of the SF-36 to within-group changes in health over time. Efforts are underway to translate and validate the questionnaire for use among ethnic minority groups in the Netherlands.

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Journal of Clinical Epidemiology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Aaronson, N., Muller, M., Cohen, P., Essink-Bot, M.-L., Fekkes, D., Sanderman, R., … Verrips, E. (1998). Translation, validation, and norming of the Dutch language version of the SF-36 Health Survey in community and chronic disease populations. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 51(11), 1055–1068. doi:10.1016/S0895-4356(98)00097-3