Reliability of Assessment of Postural Control in the Sitting Position in the Hemiplegic Subjects by use of a Functional Reach Task

Date of Award

Fall 12-1991

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Rehabilitation Sciences


Physical Therapy

Committee Director

Martha Walker

Committee Member

Evangline Yoder

Committee Member

John L. Echternach

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.P45C37


No single standardized and reliable method exists for measuring postural control in sitting in the stroke patient population. Postural control in sitting is often a portion of the total physical therapy assessment of the hemiplegic patient. The purpose of this research was to investigate the reliability of a functional reach test as a measure of postural control in sitting in the adult hemiplegic population. The measurement method was performed on 23 adult hemiplegic subjects, ages 62-88 years (mean= 73.6 + 7.9 years). Two physical therapists scored the subjects on the functional reach task. once the functional reach measure was obtained in inches, it was converted to a functional reach score. Inter-tester reliability between Tester 1 and Tester 2 was .95. There was a weak correlation between functional reach score and unaffected upper extremity shoulder flexion. There was no significant difference in functional reach scores between right and left CVA subjects. There was no significant correlation between functional reach score and hip or knee range of motion. There was also no significant correlation between functional reach score and the length of the unaffected reaching upper extremity or trunk length. Based on the results of this study, the functional reach test in sitting is an inexpensive and reliable method for measuring postural control in sitting. Further studies need to be done to assess this tests validity in predicting functional levels of activities of daily living in the hemiplegic population.


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