Quality of life

SF-12 Health Survey


Contact: Jan Poppelaars

One of the main research aims of LASA is to study the consequences of changes in functioning on autonomy and well-being in the aging population. Well-being, or quality of life, may change with aging, and may largely depend on changes in functional, emotional, cognitive, and social functioning. The SF-12 Health Survey measures several health status indicators.

Measurement instruments in LASA
The SF-12 Health Survey is a multipurpose short-form (SF) generic measure of health status. It is a subset of the larger SF-36 and monitors health in general and in specific populations. The SF-12 measures eight health aspects, namely physical functioning, role limitations due to physical health problems, bodily pain, general health, vitality (energy/fatigue), social functioning, role limitations due to emotional problems, and mental health (psychological distress and psychological well-being). Two subscales are derived from the SF-12: the Physical Component Summary (PCS) and the Mental Component Summary (MCS). These summary scales based on the SF-12 correlate very highly with the SF-36 versions (Ware et al., 1994; Gandek et al., 1998).

The data on the SF-12 are obtained by a self-administered questionnaire, and are included in the following measurement cycles: LASA-D (1998/1999) , LASA-E (2001/2002), LASA-F (2005/2006), LASA-G (2008/2009), LASA-H (2011/2012), LASA-3B (2012-2013) and LASA-I (2015-2016, in execution).

LASA*133 includes the item scores on the 12 items of the SF12 (see below).

LASA*333 includes the scale scores on the SF12, constructed by Paul Lips and Jan Smit (and comparable to other scale scores in LASA; see LASAD333.sps, available from Jan Poppelaars).

LASA*533 includes the Physical and Mental Component Summary (PCS and MCS) according to the official manual (American).

The construction of the PCS and the MCS is done in four steps (see Ware et al, '94; page 21):

step 1: data cleaning and item recoding;
step 2: creating indicator variables for item response choices;
step 3: weighing and aggregating indicator variables;
step 4: norm-based standardization of scale scores.

LASAD133 / LASAE133 / LASAF133 / LASAG133 / LASAH133 / LAS3B133 (self-administered questionnaire, in English, in Dutch)

Variable information
LASAD133 / LASAE133 / LASAF133 / LASAG133 / LASAH133 / LAS3B133

Availability of information per wave1:






















SF-12 (scaled) - - Sa Sa - Sa Sa Sa Sa - Sa
SF-12 (scaled; Am.) - - Sa Sa - Sa Sa Sa Sa - Sa

1 More information about the LASA data collection waves is available on:

*  2B=baseline second cohort;
3B=baseline third cohort;
    MB=migrants: baseline first cohort;
    I=Under Construction

Sa=data were collected in self-administered questionnaire

Previous use in LASA
The study by Van Schoor et al. (2005) shows that in multivariate analyses severe osteoporosis of the vertebrae, cardiac disease, peripheral arterial disease, and diabetes mellitus significantly reduce quality of life, estimated by SF-12, EQ-5D and Qualeffo-41. Furthermore, Rafiq et al. (2014) conclude a lower 25(OH)D status is related to lower scores on quality of life, assessed by the SF-12, and self-rated health. A big part of the association between 25(OH)D and quality of life can be explained by physical performance, depressive symptoms, and the number of chronic diseases.

  • Rafiq, R., Swart, K.M.A., Van Schoor , N.M., Deeg, D.J.H., Lips, P.T.A., De Jongh, R.T. (2014). Associations of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations with quality of life and self-rated health in an older population. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 99, 9, 3136-3143.
  • Van Schoor, N.M., Smit, J.H., Twisk, J.W.R., Lips, P.T.A. (2005). Impact of vertebral deformities, osteoarthritis, and other chronic diseases on quality of life: a population-based study. Osteoporosis International, 16, 7, 749-756.


  1. Ware JE, Kosinski M, Keller SD. SF-12: How to score the SF-12 Physical and Mental Health Summary Scales. Boston, MA: The Health Institute, New England Medical Center, second edition, 1995 (key publication).
  2. Gandek B, Ware JE, Aaronson NK, Apolone G, Bjorner JB, Brazier JE, Bullinger M, Kaasa S, Leplege A, Prieto L, Sullivan M. Cross-validation of item selection and scoring for the SF-12 Health Survey in nine countries: results from the IQOLA Project. International Quality of Life Assessment. J Clin Epidemiol 1998;51:1171-8.