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Assessment of upper extremity role functioning in students.

Katz-JN; Amick-BC III; Hupert-N; Cortes-MC; Fossel-AH; Robertson-M; Coley-CM
Am J Ind Med 2002 Jan; 41(1):19-26
BACKGROUND: Upper extremity symptoms associated with use of computers and other upper extremity activities are common in students. Research on these disorders requires psychometrically sound measures of health-related student role function; no such measure is available currently. METHODS: Based upon input from students and clinicians, we developed a 10-item scale to measure student health-related role function. The measure was administered as part of a survey of 193 undergraduates at one university. A follow-up survey was administered 1 month later. The student health-related role function questionnaire was assessed for internal consistency, ceiling effects, convergent and discriminant validity, and responsiveness to self-reported change in functional status. RESULTS: Eighty-two percent of students who were given the survey completed it and 65% completed a follow-up survey 1 month later. The new measure was reliable (Cronbach's alpha 0.87). Forty-six percent of respondents reported "no difficulty" on all items of the health-related student role function measure while 64% reported "no difficulty" on all items of a generic upper extremity functional status measure. This finding indicates that the new measure was better able to detect functional limitations; it had a less prominent ceiling effect. The new measure had moderately high correlations with measures of symptom severity and pain, documenting convergent validity. It distinguished students who utilized clinician services, medications, or academic accommodation from students who did not utilize these resources, documenting discriminant validity. The measure was responsive to self-perceived change, as demonstrated by a highly significant association (P < 0.0001) between changes in score over a 1-month follow-up and students' perceptions of whether they had improved in functional abilities after the month, deteriorated or remained stable. CONCLUSIONS: The student health-related role functioning measure is reliable, valid and responsive to change. It is an appropriate measure for research on upper extremity symptoms in students.
Physical-fitness; Physical-stress; Health-surveys; Medical-monitoring; Statistical-analysis; Humans; Questionnaires; Models; Ergonomics; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders
Jeffrey N. Katz, Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis Street, B-3, Boston, Massachusetts 02115
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R01-OH-003523; Grant-Number-R01-OH-003399
Issue of Publication
Priority Area
Work Environment And Workforce: Organization of Work
Source Name
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Performing Organization
University of Texas, School of Public Health, Houston Health Science Center, Houston, Texas
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division