Reliability and validity of the sequential weight-shifting test

The evaluation of sitting balance is important for the prevention of falls in older adults, especially those who have a disability involving the lower extremities. However, no studies have been designed to assess a patient’s dynamic sitting balance using a sequential protocol. The objective of this study was to investigate the psychometric properties of the sequential weight-shifting (SWS) test.

Twenty-three older adults who were physically dependent with regard to ambulation were recruited by convenience sampling. In study 1, 10 participants performed the SWS test and repeated the procedure 1 week later. In study 2, 23 participants were assessed using the SWS test, forward and lateral reach tests in a sitting position, tests of shoulder flexor and hand grip strength, an eye-hand coordination test, mobility tests, and pulmonary function tests. The test-retest reliability of the SWS test and its correlations with the different physical dimensions were examined.

The intraclass correlation coefficient (3,1) of the SWS test was 0.67. The results of the SWS test correlated significantly with forward reach in the sitting position, arm muscle strength, eye-hand coordination, mobility, and pulmonary function (all p<0.05).

The SWS test demonstrated satisfactory psychometric properties and can be considered a useful functional approach for the measurement of sitting balance.