Content » Vol 48, Issue 4

Review article

Conceptualization and assessment of disability in shoulder-specific measures with reference to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health

Yngve Roe, Sigrid Østensjø
Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Postboks 4 St. Olavs plass, NO-0130 Oslo, Norway. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2072


Objective: To expand on a previous systematic review of shoulder-specific outcome measures by investigating how concepts of functioning were conceptualized and measured, using International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) constructs as a reference.
Methods: The material consisted of the linked content of 17 condition-specific measures. The distribution of the key concepts of functioning was assessed in relation to the 3 ICF levels: body level (body functions and structures), personal level (activities) and societal level (participation). Based on this cate-gorization, the concepts were further explored; body functions as to whether they were informed by any contextual information, and activities and participation as to whether they measured a person’s capacity, capability or performance.
Results: Seven measures assessed all 3 levels of functioning, 8 measured 2 levels, and 2 measured a single level. The majority of the 15 measures including body functions assessed a mix of decontextualized and contextualized functions. Of the 13 measures of activities, 7 measured capabilities, 4 performance and 2 used both constructs. In comparison, among the 11 measures of participation, 5 measured capabilities, 2 performance and 4 a mixture of these. No measure used the capacity construct.
Conclusion: Shoulder-specific outcome measures differ in their choice of measurement levels and measurement constructs. The inconsistent use of the capability and performance constructs to measure activities and participation, raise important questions about the suitability of the measures for their intended use.

Lay Abstract


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