• Article

Improving assessment of work related mental health function using the Work Disability Functional Assessment Battery (WD-FAB)

Purpose To improve the mental health component of the Work Disability Functional Assessment Battery (WD-FAB), developed for the US Social Security Administration's (SSA) disability determination process. Specifically our goal was to expand the WD-FAB scales of mood & emotions, resilience, social interactions, and behavioral control to improve the depth and breadth of the current scales and expand the content coverage to include aspects of cognition & communication function. Methods Data were collected from a random, stratified sample of 1695 claimants applying for the SSA work disability benefits, and a general population sample of 2025 working age adults. 169 new items were developed to replenish the WD-FAB scales and analyzed using factor analysis and item response theory (IRT) analysis to construct unidimensional scales. We conducted computer adaptive test (CAT) simulations to examine the psychometric properties of the WD-FAB. Results Analyses supported the inclusion of four mental health subdomains: Cognition & Communication (68 items), Self-Regulation (34 items), Resilience & Sociability (29 items) and Mood & Emotions (34 items). All scales yielded acceptable psychometric properties. Conclusions IRT methods were effective in expanding the WD-FAB to assess mental health function. The WD-FAB has the potential to enhance work disability assessment both within the context of the SSA disability programs as well as other clinical and vocational rehabilitation settings.

Citation

Marfeo, E. E., Ni, P., McDonough, C., Peterik, K., Marino, M., Meterko, M., ... Jette, A. M. (2018). Improving assessment of work related mental health function using the Work Disability Functional Assessment Battery (WD-FAB). Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 28(1), 190-199. DOI: 10.1007/s10926-017-9710-5

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