• Journal Article

Computer-Adaptive Balance Testing Improves Discrimination Between Community-Dwelling Elderly Fallers and Nonfaliers


Pardasaney, P., Ni, P. S., Slavin, M. D., Latham, N. K., Wagenaar, R. C., Bean, J., & Jette, A. M. (2014). Computer-Adaptive Balance Testing Improves Discrimination Between Community-Dwelling Elderly Fallers and Nonfaliers. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 95(7), 1320-1327. DOI: 10.1016/j.apmr.2014.03.013


Objectives: To build an item response theory based computer adaptive test (CAT) for balance from 3 traditional, fixed-form balance measures: Berg Balance Scale (BBS), Performance-Oriented Mobility Assessment (POMA), and dynamic gait index (DGI); and to examine whether the CAT's psychometric performance exceeded that of individual measures. Design: Secondary analysis combining 2 existing datasets. Setting: Community based. Participants: Community-dwelling older adults (N=187) who were aged >= 65 years (mean age, 75.2+/-6.8y, 69% women). Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: The BBS, POMA, and DGI items were compiled into an initial 38-item bank. The Rasch partial credit model was used for final item bank calibration. CAT simulations were conducted to identify the ideal CAT. CAT score accuracy, reliability, floor and ceiling effects, and validity were examined. Floor and ceiling effects and validity of the CAT and individual measures were compared. Results: A 23-item bank met model expectations. A 10-item CAT was selected, showing a very strong association with full item bank scores (r=.97) and good overall reliability (.78). Reliability was better in low- to midbalance ranges as a result of better item targeting to balance ability when compared with the highest balance ranges. No floor effect was noted. The CAT ceiling effect (11.2%) was significantly lower than the POMA (40.1%) and DGI (40.3%) ceiling effects (P<.001 per comparison). The CAT outperformed individual measures, being the only test to discriminate between fallers and nonfallers (P=.007), and being the strongest predictor of self-reported function. Conclusions: The balance CAT showed excellent accuracy, good overall reliability, and excellent validity compared with individual measures, being the only measure to discriminate between fillers and nonfallers. Prospective examination, particularly in low-functioning older adults and clinical populations with balance deficits, is recommended. Development of an improved CAT based on an expanded item bank containing higher difficulty items is also recommended. (C) 2014 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine