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Measurement properties of performance-based assessment of functional capacity.

Performance-based functional assessments, including standardized functional capacity evaluation (FCE) batteries, are commonly used to determine the physical work abilities of individuals who have sustained musculoskeletal injury. The purpose of this paper is to critically examine research pertaining to the measurement properties of performance-based FCE, along with the theoretical bases for such measurement. While rater judgments of maximum performance during FCE appear reliable, FCEs do not appear to be purely tests of physical capacity as performance during assessment is influenced by multiple personal and environmental contextual factors. FCEs are more accurately considered behavioural tests influenced by multiple factors including physical ability, beliefs, and perceptions, and should be interpreted with in the subject's broader personal and environmental context.

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