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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2012 Oct;93(10):1757-65. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2012.05.001. Epub 2012 May 7.

University of Washington self-efficacy scale: a new self-efficacy scale for people with disabilities.

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  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.



To develop a self-efficacy scale for people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) and spinal cord injury (SCI) that can be used across diagnostic conditions.


The scale was developed using modern psychometric methods including item response theory. Items were administered at 3 time-points of a longitudinal survey of individuals with MS and SCI.


Survey participants with MS were recruited from the National MS Society, and participants with SCI were recruited from the Northwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury Model System and the Shepherd Center at the Virginia Crawford Research Institute in Atlanta, GA.


Adults aged 18 years and older reporting a definitive diagnosis of MS (N=473) or SCI (N=253).




Evaluation of the new self-efficacy measure called the University of Washington Self-Efficacy Scale (UW-SES) included comparisons with the Chronic Disease Self-Efficacy Scale and other patient-reported outcome measures.


UW-SES has excellent psychometric properties including well-functioning response categories, no floor effects, and low ceiling effects. A long form (17 items) and a short form (6 items) are available. The correlation between the score on the newly developed scale and the Chronic Disease Self-Efficacy Scale was high (.83), providing support for convergent validity. Higher self-efficacy scores were statistically significantly associated with better mental health, better physical health, less fatigue, less stress, less pain interference, less pain, fewer sleep problems, and lower depressive symptoms.


The UW-SES is a psychometrically sound instrument for measuring self-efficacy, validated in MS and SCI, and can be used across both conditions. Both the long form and the short form are available free of charge.

Copyright © 2012 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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