Validity, reliability and ease of use of the disabilities of arm, shoulder and hand questionnaire in adults following stroke

Emily Dalton, Natasha Lannin, Kate Laver, Leo Ross, Stephen Ashford, Annie McCluskey, Anne Cusick

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: The Disabilities of Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) questionnaire is a patient reported outcome measure for evaluating upper limb function in people with musculoskeletal conditions. While the DASH has good psychometric properties when used with people with musculoskeletal conditions, it has not been tested with adults after stroke. Methods: Data for n = 61 adults following stroke (aged 32–93 years, 44% male) were analyzed to test validity and reliability of the DASH for use with a stroke population. Data included demographic and clinical attributes, DASH scores (baseline and four weeks later) and Patient Rated Wrist Evaluation (PRWE) measures. Results: Internal consistency was good (Cronbach alpha 0.92, SEM 6.65). Factor analysis and Rasch modeling suggested that the questionnaire comprised three subscales: pain, impact and function. Concurrent validity between the DASH and PRWE (Spearman’s Rho rs=0.41) was moderate. The scale was perceived by clinicians to be useful, quick and simple to administer. The DASH had low four-week test-retest reliability (ICC 0.56 [95% Cl 0.05–0.79]). Conclusions: The DASH is considered to have acceptable validity when used with adults following stroke. Test–retest reliability was low but further research is needed to establish whether this is a result of condition-related change or the stability of the measure.Implications for Rehabilitation The DASH questionnaire examines upper limb function in task performance and appears to be a useful tool, which is simple to administer in the clinical setting with adults following stroke. Upper limb function post stroke can be meaningfully assessed using the DASH as it has good internal consistency and moderate concurrent validity. Rasch analysis and factor analysis suggests that the tool appears to consist of three subscales: pain, impact and function. The total score of the DASH may be less meaningful than the totals of these subscales. The test–retest reliability of the DASH requires further research; over a four-week period DASH stability was poor in a group of people with moderate to severe upper limb impairment.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2504-2511
    Number of pages8
    JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
    Issue number24
    Early online date2016
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2017


    • Assessment
    • function
    • measurement
    • participation
    • psychometric


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