A comparison of SF-36 summary measures of physical and mental health for women across the life course

Mishra, Gita D., Hockey, Richard and Dobson, Annette J. (2013) A comparison of SF-36 summary measures of physical and mental health for women across the life course. Quality of Life Research, 23 5: 1515-1521. doi:10.1007/s11136-013-0586-3

Author Mishra, Gita D.
Hockey, Richard
Dobson, Annette J.
Title A comparison of SF-36 summary measures of physical and mental health for women across the life course
Journal name Quality of Life Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0962-9343
Publication date 2013-12-03
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s11136-013-0586-3
Volume 23
Issue 5
Start page 1515
End page 1521
Total pages 7
Place of publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publisher Springer
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: Physical and mental component summary scores (PCS and MCS, respectively) are often used to summarise SF-36 quality of life subscales. This paper investigates PCS and MCS across the life course and compares the trajectories obtained from two different methods of calculation.

Methods: The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health is a population-based study with three cohorts of women and SF-36 surveys taken at multiple time points. Scoring coefficients for each component score were determined using factor analysis with uncorrelated (orthogonal) and correlated (oblique) rotation at the baseline survey, which were then used to compute correlated and uncorrelated PCS and MCS scores at each survey (scaled to have mean of 50 and standard deviation of 10 at baseline).

Results: For both methods, PCS declined progressively across the lifespan, while MCS rose in young and mid-age women to a peak and subsequently declined in later life. Differences were apparent between correlated and uncorrelated scores, most notably for MCS in the older cohort, where correlated MCS reached 54.6 but still less than uncorrelated MCS, with a random effects model indicating 1.63 (95 % confidence intervals 1.58–1.67) units difference; it then declined to a score of 51.2 by the last survey and the difference widened to 3.44 (3.38–3.50) units compared with the uncorrelated MCS.

Conclusions: PCS and MCS have distinct trajectories through life, with differences in results from correlated and uncorrelated component summary scores. The divergence is most notable with MCS, especially for older women, suggesting that correlated MCS and PCS should be used when examining change in health over time in this age group.

Keyword Physical component summary scores
Mental component summary scores
Uncorrelated scores
Oblique rotation
Varimax rotation
Australian women
Life course
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online ahead of print 3 December 2013.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
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Created: Mon, 10 Feb 2014, 21:38:11 EST by Katherine De Maria on behalf of School of Public Health