Validity and reliability of a video questionnaire to assess physical function in older adults

Anoop Balachandran, Chelsea N Verduin, Melanie Potiaumpai, Meng Ni, Joseph F Signorile
Experimental Gerontology 2016, 81: 76-82

BACKGROUND: Self-report questionnaires are widely used to assess physical function in older adults. However, they often lack a clear frame of reference and hence interpreting and rating task difficulty levels can be problematic for the responder. Consequently, the usefulness of traditional self-report questionnaires for assessing higher-level functioning is limited. Video-based questionnaires can overcome some of these limitations by offering a clear and objective visual reference for the performance level against which the subject is to compare his or her perceived capacity. Hence the purpose of the study was to develop and validate a novel, video-based questionnaire to assess physical function in older adults independently living in the community.

METHODS: A total of 61 community-living adults, 60years or older, were recruited. To examine validity, 35 of the subjects completed the video questionnaire, two types of physical performance tests: a test of instrumental activity of daily living (IADL) included in the Short Physical Functional Performance battery (PFP-10), and a composite of 3 performance tests (30s chair stand, single-leg balance and usual gait speed). To ascertain reliability, two-week test-retest reliability was assessed in the remaining 26 subjects who did not participate in validity testing.

RESULTS: The video questionnaire showed a moderate correlation with the IADLs (Spearman rho=0.64, p<0.001; 95% CI (0.4, 0.8)), and a lower correlation with the composite score of physical performance tests (Spearman rho=0.49, p<0.01; 95% CI (0.18, 0.7)). The test-retest assessment yielded an intra-class correlation (ICC) of 0.87 (p<0.001; 95% CI (0.70, 0.94)) and a Cronbach's alpha of 0.89 demonstrating good reliability and internal consistency.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that the video questionnaire developed to evaluate physical function in community-living older adults is a valid and reliable assessment tool; however, further validation is needed for definitive conclusions.

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