Test-retest reliability of the Upper Extremity Questionnaire among keyboard operators

Am J Ind Med. 2001 Dec;40(6):655-66. doi: 10.1002/ajim.10024.


Background: Questionnaires are often used in research among workers although few have been tested in the working population. The Upper Extremity Questionnaire is a self-administered questionnaire designed for epidemiological studies and tested among workers. This study assessed reliability of the instrument.

Methods: A two-part assessment was conducted among 138 keyboard operators as part of a large medical survey. Test-retest reliability was analyzed using the kappa statistic, paired t-test, and intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). Logistic regression models were used to test the effect of demographic and work-related factors on reliability.

Results: The average respondent was a white woman, age 35 years, with some college education, in permanent employment with tenure of 1.4 years. Overall, reports of symptoms were stable from Round 1 to 2. Most kappa values for symptom reports were between 0.60 and 0.89. Kappa values for right and left hand diagrams were 0.57 and 0.28, respectively. Among psychosocial items, Perceived Stress and Job Dissatisfaction Scales were most reliable (ICC = 0.88); co-worker support was least reliable (ICC = 0.44).

Conclusion: Reliability of items on the Upper Extremity Questionnaire were generally good to excellent. Reports of symptom severity and interference with work were less stable. Demographic and work-related factors were not statistically significant in modeling the variation in reliability. Repeated use of the questionnaire with similar results suggests findings are applicable to a larger working population.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Arm
  • Computers*
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / etiology
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*