The objective of this study was to develop simple tests to assess the abilities of people with spinal cord injury (SCI) to sit unsupported and to assess the construct validity and test-retest reliability of these tests. Participants were people (N=30) with SCI between the C6 and the L2 level of 2 months to 37 years duration before assessment. On 2 separate occasions, participants performed tests that measured the distance of upper-body sway and maximal torso leaning, errors made during a coordinated stability task, timed dressing/undressing of the upper body and alternating arm reaching, and percentage change in seated upper body/arm reaching. All tests showed good construct validity in that they distinguished between participants with higher (C6-T7) and lower (T8-L2) level impairments and between participants with acute (< or =1 y) and chronic (>1 y) lesions. The tests also showed good to excellent test-retest reliability.
These simple and quick-to-administer tests have both construct validity and test-retest reliability. They would be appropriate for research and clinical purposes to quantify the abilities of people with SCI to sit unsupported.
Boswell-Ruys CL, Sturnieks DL, Harvey LA, Sherrington C, Middleton JW, Lord SR. Validity and reliability of assessment tools for measuring unsupported sitting in people with a spinal cord injury. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2009 Sep;90(9):1571-7