OBJECTIVE: The two-component factor structure underlying Short Form-36 (SF-36) summary scores may not be valid worldwide. We studied a three-component model of SF-36 scores in Japan.
STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: The SF-36 scores came from representative samples of the population of Japan. Factor analysis and structural equation modeling were used. The two-component model gave physical component summary (PCS) scores and mental component summary (MCS) scores. The three-component model gave scores on the PCS, the MCS, and also on the third component, which we call the role component summary (RCS) score. These were evaluated with external criteria.
RESULTS: In the three-component model, the RCS was strongly associated with the role-physical, social functioning, and role-emotional subscales, whereas the PCS and MCS were associated with the physical functioning and mental health subscales, as expected. The goodness-of-fit index was 0.945 for the three-component model and 0.935 for the two-component model. The PCS discriminated between groups stratified by comorbid conditions, and the MCS discriminated between groups stratified by psychological depression. Absence from work was associated with both PCS and RCS.
CONCLUSION: The three-component model is better than the two-component model, and it provides more useful PCS and MCS scores. Criteria for validation testing of the RCS are needed.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/john_ware/200/