The purpose of this study was to determine the 1-week test-retest reliability of the Sensory Organization Test (SOT), using computer-generated scores and loss of balance (LOB) episodes in noninstitutionalized older adults. The SOT was administered to each subject on two separate days 1 week apart in an out-patient clinic. A volunteer sample of 40 individuals who were at least 65 years of age participated in this study. The main outcome measures were computer-generated scores for the first trial and the average of the three trials in each of the six sensory conditions of the SOT; computer-generated composite score of the six conditions; LOB on the first trial and any of three trials in each condition. The intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) for the SOT first trial data ranged from .15 in Condition 3 to 0.70 in Condition 5. The ICCs for the SOT average of three trials ranged from 0.26 in Condition 3 to 0.68 and 0.64 in Conditions 5 and 6. Percent agreement was 77% to 100% for LOB on the first trial, as well as LOB on any of three trials of Conditions 1 through 6. As the conditions became more difficult, an increasing number of subjects experienced LOB. Analysis revealed fair to good test-retest reliability for computer-generated scores and good reliability for LOB across some conditions of the SOT. A modification to the current scoring system is suggested which would improve the reliability of the computer-generated scores of the SOT.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
After a brief explanation of the study, each subject signed a consent form and underwent a comprehensive assessment that included history and physical examination, functional evaluation, psychosocial assessment, strength and flexibility testing, and balance assessment. This information was gathered as part of a larger study funded by the National Institute for Nursing Research. The SOT was administered on 2 separate days 1 week apart. Subjects stood on the force platform without shoes, faced the visual screen, and wore a safety harness (fig). Subjects were instructed to stand with their feet a comfortable distance (approximately 6 to 8 inches) apart during testing, and not to touch the visual screen or move their feet. The medial malleoli were placed over the placement strip imprinted on the platform. Subjects were allowed to rest between test conditions on request.
From the Department of Physical Therapy (Ms. Ford-Smith), School of Nursing (Dr. Wyman, Ms. Fernandez), Department of Biostatistics (Dr. Elswick), Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA; Department of Physical Therapy (Dr. Newton), Temple University, Philadelphia, PA. Submitted for publication January 7, 1994. Accepted in revised form August 8, 1994. Research supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research, Grant R01 NR02561, Geriatric Leadership Academic Award, National Institute on Aging, Grant 5R07A G00404, and a Special Grants-In-Aid from Virginia Commonwealth University. No commercial party having a direct financial interest in the results of the research supporting this article has or will confer a benefit upon the authors or upon any organization with which the authors are associated. Reprint requests to Cheryl D. Ford-Smith, MS, PT, Route 2, Box 3636, Bumpass, VA 23024. © 1995 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 0003-9993/95/7601-257053.00/0
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