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Ann Rheum Dis. Apr 2004; 63(4): 335–341.
PMCID: PMC1754942

Clinimetric evaluation of shoulder disability questionnaires: a systematic review of the literature


Methods: Systematic literature searches were performed to identify self administered shoulder disability questionnaires. A checklist was developed to evaluate and compare the clinimetric quality of the instruments.

Results: Two reviewers identified and evaluated 16 questionnaires by our checklist. Most studies were found for the Disability of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand scale (DASH), the Shoulder Pain and Disability Index (SPADI), and the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons Standardised Shoulder Assessment Form (ASES). None of the questionnaires demonstrated satisfactory results for all properties. Most questionnaires claim to measure several domains (for example, pain, physical, emotional, and social functioning), yet dimensionality was studied in only three instruments. The internal consistency was calculated for seven questionnaires and only one received an adequate rating. Twelve questionnaires received positive ratings for construct validity, although depending on the population studied, four of these questionnaires received poor ratings too. Seven questionnaires were shown to have adequate test-retest reliability (ICC >0.70), but five questionnaires were tested inadequately. In most clinimetric studies only small sample sizes (n<43) were used. Nearly all publications lacked information on the interpretation of scores.

Conclusion: The DASH, SPADI, and ASES have been studied most extensively, and yet even published validation studies of these instruments have limitations in study design, sample sizes, or evidence for dimensionality. Overall, the DASH received the best ratings for its clinimetric properties.

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Selected References

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