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01-08-2015 | Uitgave 8/2015 Open Access

Quality of Life Research 8/2015

Short Musculoskeletal Function Assessment: normative data of the Dutch population

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 8/2015
M. W. de Graaf, M. El Moumni, E. Heineman, K. W. Wendt, I. H. F. Reininga
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M. W. de Graaf and M. El Moumni have equally contributed to this article.



The Short Musculoskeletal Function Assessment (SMFA) is widely used in both research and clinical practice. Despite its frequent use, normative data of the SMFA have remained limited. Aim of this study was to gather normative data for the Dutch SMFA (SMFA-NL).


The SMFA-NL consists of two indices (function index and bother index) and four subscales (upper extremity dysfunction, lower extremity dysfunction, mental and emotional problems, and problems with daily activities). A total of 900 patients were invited to fill in the SMFA-NL. Six age groups (18–24, 25–34, 35–44, 45–54, 55–64, and 65–75 years) were constructed. Analysis of variance, t tests, and regression analyses were used to assess age and gender effects.


The response rate was 97 %. There was a significant difference between men and women in scores on all indices and subscales (range p < 0.001 to p = 0.002), except for the upper extremity dysfunction subscale (p = 0.06). A significant interaction effect was found between gender and age for the upper extremity dysfunction subscale; a larger decrease in score with increasing age was observed for women, compared with men. Significant differences were found between age groups for the bother index (p < 0.001), lower extremity dysfunction subscale (p = 0.001), and the problems with daily activities subscale (p = 0.002).


Significant differences in SMFA-NL scores were found between men and women and between different age groups. These SMFA-NL normative data provide an opportunity of benchmarking health status of participants with musculoskeletal disorders or injuries against their age- and gender-matched peers in the Dutch population.

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