Is There Regional Variation in the SF-36 Scores of Canadian Adults?
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BACKGROUND: Canadian normative data for the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item short form (SF-36) have recently been published. However, there is evidence from other countries to suggest that regional variation in health-related quality of life (HRQOL) may exist. We therefore examined the SF-36 data from nine Canadian centres for evidence of systematic differences. METHODS: Bayesian hierarchical modelling was used to compare the differences in the eight SF-36 domains and the two summary component scores within each of the age and gender strata across the nine sites. RESULTS: Five domains and the two summary component scores showed little clinically important variation. Other than a small number of exceptions, there was little overall evidence of HRQOL differences across most domains and across most sites. INTERPRETATION: Our finding of only a few small differences suggests that there is no need to develop region-specific Canadian normative data for the SF-36 health survey.
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