COSMIN database

A review of instruments assessing participation in persons with spinal cord injury

Noonan, V. K., Miller, W. C., Noreau, L., and Team, Scire Research
STUDY DESIGN: A systematic search of the literature.

OBJECTIVES: To critically review instruments that assess participation in persons with spinal cord injury (SCI).

SETTING: Vancouver, British Columbia.

METHODS: Four electronic databases (MEDLINE/PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE and PsychInfo) were searched for studies published between 1980 and March 2008. Instruments were included if information was published in English in at least one peer-reviewed journal on its measurement properties (reliability, validity and responsiveness) in a sample that included adults with SCI. Instruments were evaluated using criteria proposed for disability outcome measures.

RESULTS: Six instruments were included: Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique (CHART); Impact on Participation and Autonomy Questionnaire (IPA); Assessment of Life Habits Scale (Life-H); Occupational Performance History Interview; Physical Activity Recall Assessment for People with Spinal Cord Injury; and Reintegration to Normal Living Index. Evidence supporting the reliability of the instruments was reported for four of the six instruments and was adequate. Validity was assessed in all the instruments. Only the Life-H and CHART have been compared with each other. No evidence on responsiveness was available.

CONCLUSION: The instruments differ in how participation is operationalized. Currently, the CHART that measures objective aspects of participation has the most evidence supporting its measurement properties. More evidence is becoming available for instruments such as the IPA, which consider the person's perspective. It is important to determine what information about participation is required before selecting an instrument.
Spinal Cord
1476-5624 (Electronic)
Publication year:
Functional status:
Physical functioning
Role functioning
Social functioning
Adults (18-65)
Injury, poisoning and certain other consequences of external causes
PRO / non-PRO:
Patient Reported Outcome
Type of measurement instrument:
1 - Questionnaires
2 - Interviews
CHART - Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique   
IPA - Impact on Participation and Autonomy   
LIFE-H - Assessment of Life Habits   
OPHI-II - Occupational Performance History Interview-second version    
PARA-SCI - Physical Activity Recall Assessment for people with Spinal Cord Injury
RNL - Reintegration to Normal Living Index