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Test–retest reliability, smallest real difference and concurrent validity of six different balance tests on young people with mild to moderate intellectual disability

Abstract

Objectives

Some studies have reported that people with intellectual disability may have reduced balance ability compared with the population in general. However, none of these studies involved adolescents, and the reliability and validity of balance tests in this population are not known. The purpose of this study was to examine the reliability of six different balance tests and to investigate their concurrent validity.

Design

Test–retest reliability assessment.

Settings

All subjects were recruited from a special school for people with intellectual disability in Bollnäs, Sweden.

Participants

Eighty-nine adolescents (35 females and 54 males) with mild to moderate intellectual disability with a mean age of 18 years (range 16 to 20 years).

Interventions

All subjects followed the same test protocol on two occasions within an 11-day period.

Main outcomes

Balance test performances.

Results

Intraclass correlation coefficients greater than 0.80 were achieved for four of the balance tests: Extended Timed Up and Go Test, Modified Functional Reach Test, One-leg Stance Test and Force Platform Test. The smallest real differences ranged from 12% to 40%; less than 20% is considered to be low. Concurrent validity among these balance tests varied between no and low correlation.

Conclusion

The results indicate that these tests could be used to evaluate changes in balance ability over time in people with mild to moderate intellectual disability. The low concurrent validity illustrates the importance of knowing more about the influence of various sensory subsystems that are significant for balance among adolescents with intellectual disability.

Cite this article

Test–retest reliability, smallest real difference and concurrent validity of six different balance tests on young people with mild to moderate intellectual disability     Sven Blomqvist, Anita Wester, Gunnevi Sundelin, Börje Rehn
Physiotherapy - December 2012 (Vol. 98, Issue 4, Pages 313-319, DOI: 10.1016/j.physio.2011.05.006)

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