Inter- and intrarater reliability of the Ashworth Scale and the Disability Assessment Scale in patients with upper-limb poststroke spasticity

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2002 Oct;83(10):1349-54. doi: 10.1053/apmr.2002.35474.


Objective: To evaluate the reliability of the Ashworth Scale and the Disability Assessment Scale (DAS) in poststroke patients with upper-limb spasticity and functional disability.

Design: Single-center trial.

Setting: University medical center.

Participants: Nine patients > or = 6 months poststroke with upper-limb spasticity and impairment in the areas of hygiene, dressing, limb posture, or pain were included in the analysis.

Interventions: Ten experienced medical professionals rated each patient in randomized order twice on the same day (results based on mean of evaluations at times 1 and 2). Elbow, wrist, finger, and thumb flexion tones were assessed by using the Ashworth score (range, 0-4), and functional disability was assessed using the DAS (range, 0-3).

Main outcome measures: Intra- and interrater reliability of the Ashworth Scale and DAS.

Results: For the Ashworth parameters, 38 of 40 evaluations indicated excellent (weighted kappa > or = .75) or good (weighted kappa > or = .4) intrarater reliability. For DAS parameters, 31 of 40 evaluations indicated excellent or good intrarater reliability. The interrater reliability was also good for both the Ashworth Scale (Kendall W=.598-.792) and DAS (Kendall W=.494-.772) with statistically significant agreement found among raters (all P<.001).

Conclusions: In patients with upper-limb spasticity after stroke, the Ashworth Scale and DAS had good intra- and interrater reliability when used by trained medical professions.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arm
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Spasticity / rehabilitation*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*