Benedict Martin Wand, Lara A. Chiffelle, Neil Edward O’Connell, James Henry McAuley, Lorraine Hilary DeSouza


March 2010, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 633 - 640 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-009-1180-9

First Online: 23 October 2009

For an individual, the functional consequences of an episode of low back pain is a key measure of their clinical status. Self-reported disability measures are commonly used to capture this component of the back pain experience. In non-acute low back pain there is some uncertainty of the validity of this approach. It appears that self-reported assessment of disability and direct measurements of functional status are only moderately related. In this cross-sectional study, we investigated this relationship in a sample of 94 acute low back pain patients. Both self-reported disability and a performance-based assessment of disability were assessed, along with extensive profiling of patient characteristics. Scale consistency of the performance-based assessment was investigated using Cronbach’s alpha, the relationship between self-reported and performance-based assessment of disability was investigated using Pearson’s correlation. The relationship between clinical profile and each of the disability measures were examined using Pearson’s correlations and multivariate linear regression. Our results demonstrate that the battery of tests used are internally reliable (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.86). We found only moderate correlations between the two disability measures (r = 0.471, p 


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