Measuring the impact of MS on walking ability: the 12-Item MS Walking Scale (MSWS-12)

Neurology. 2003 Jan 14;60(1):31-6. doi: 10.1212/wnl.60.1.31.


Objective: To develop a patient-based measure of walking ability in MS.

Methods: Twelve items describing the impact of MS on walking (12-Item MS Walking Scale [MSWS-12]) were generated from 30 patient interviews, expert opinion, and literature review. Preliminary psychometric evaluation (data quality, scaling assumptions, acceptability, reliability, validity) was undertaken in the data generated by 602 people from the MS Society membership database. Further psychometric evaluation (including comprehensive validity assessment, responsiveness, and relative efficiency) was conducted in two hospital-based samples: people with primary progressive MS (PPMS; n = 78) and people with relapses admitted for IV steroid treatment (n = 54).

Results: In all samples, missing data were low (< or =3.8%), item test-retest reproducibility was high (> or =0.78), scaling assumptions were satisfied, and reliability was high (> or =0.94). Correlations between the MSWS-12 and other scales were consistent with a priori hypotheses. The MSWS-12 (relative efficiency = 1.0) was more responsive than the Functional Assessment of Multiple Sclerosis mobility scale (0.72), the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey physical functioning scale (0.33), the Expanded Disability Status Scale (0.03), the 25-ft Timed Walk Test (0.44), and Guy's Neurologic Disability Scale lower limb disability item (0.10).

Conclusions: The MSWS-12 satisfies standard criteria as a reliable and valid patient-based measure of the impact of MS on walking. In these samples, the MSWS-12 was more responsive than other walking-based scales.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Neurological / standards*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnosis*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive / diagnosis
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive / physiopathology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Walking* / classification