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Quality of life in rural and urban populations in Lebanon using SF-36 health survey

Article type: Published article


Background Measuring health status in a population is important for the evaluation of interventions and the prediction of health and social care needs. Quality of life (QoL) studies are an essential complement to medical evaluation but most of the tools available in this area are in English. In order to evaluated QoL in rural and urban areas in Lebanon, the short form 36 health survey (SF-36) was adapted into Arabic. Methods SF-36 was administered in a cross-sectional study, to collect sociodemographic and environmental variables as well as self reported morbidity. We analysed a representative sample containing 1632 subjects, from whom we randomly picked 524 subjects aged 14 years and over. The translation, cultural adaptation and validation of the SF-36 followed the International Quality of Life Assessment methodology. Multivariate analysis (generalized linear model) was performed to test the effect of habitat (rural on urban areas) on all domains of the SF-36. Results The rate of missing data is very low (0.23% of items). Item level validation supported the assumptions underlying Likert scoring. SF-36 scale scores showed wide variability and acceptable internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha >0.70), factor analysis yielded patterns of factor correlation comparable to that found in the U.S.A and France. Patients resident in rural areas had higher vitality scores than those in urban areas. Older people reported more satisfaction with some domains of life than younger people, except for physical functioning. The QoL of women is poorer than men; certain symptoms and morbidity independently influence the domains of SF-36 in this population. Conclusion The results support the validity of the SF-36 Arabic version. Habitat has a minor influence on QoL, women had a poor QoL, and health problems had differential impact on QoL.

Full citation

Sabbah, I., et al. (2003). "Quality of life in rural and urban populations in Lebanon using SF-36 health survey." Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 1(1): 1.


Methods Condition Gender Age Country Setting Sample size
healthy people Both 14 - 60 and plus Lebanon
Commuinty 524

Number of items

36 items


Measure does not require training

Required time

6-30 min

Access measure


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Articles last updated: December 2020