Measuring health-related quality of life for persons with mobility impairments: An enabled version of the short-form 36 (SF-36E)

Katherine Froehlich-Grobe, Elena M. Andresen, Charlene Caburnay, Glen W. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


Objective: Examine psychometric properties of the SF-36 and SF-36E for mobility-impaired individuals and assess whether the SF-36E yields higher health-related quality-of-life scores. Methods: We altered the SF-36 Physical Function scale by substituting the word "go" for "walk" and "climb" and changed the stem to reflect function using assistive devices. We compared responses between versions for 201 individuals with disabilities (n = 95 wheelchair users, n = 48 other device users, 58 = no device users). Results: Both surveys yielded reliable scores, but floor and ceiling effects occurred with both versions. Confirmatory factor analyses demonstrate good fit for the SF-36 and SF36E, but were compromised by low sample size. Respondents demonstrated significantly better Role Physical, Bodily Pain, and Vitality on the SF-36E, but worse General Health. Conclusions: The World Health Organization framework, the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) suggests that it is important to know both what one can do without assistance (capacity) and what one can do with assistance (performance). Results suggest that the SF-36E successfully measures performance among mobility-impaired individuals, including wheelchair users. However, further validation studies of the SF-36 and SF-36E are warranted with samples of individuals with disabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-770
Number of pages20
JournalQuality of Life Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008



  • Bias
  • Disabled persons
  • Health status
  • Health surveys
  • Quality of life
  • Reproducibility of results
  • SF-36

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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