The relationship between postural control and fine manual dexterity

Phys Occup Ther Pediatr. 2003;23(4):47-60.


The influence of the development of postural control of the trunk and center of the body on the development of fine manual dexterity ability is a common assumption. The objectives of this study were: (1) to examine the relationship between the adult version of the Nine-Hole Peg Test and the "children's version" in order to establish construct validity for the latter, and (2) to investigate the relationship between postural control and fine motor performance of children developing typically aged five to six. The study sample included 47 children, 25 males and 22 females, with a mean age of 5 years and 8 months and a standard deviation of 3.8 months. Two tests were administered: (1) The balance subtest of the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency (BOTMP; Bruininks, 1978); and (2) the Nine-Hole Peg Test (NHPT; Kellor, Frost, Silberg Iversen & Cumming, 1971), as well as the "children's version" of rotation and translation tasks (Case-Smith, 1993, 1995). The adult version of the NHPT revealed significant moderate correlations with most of the BOTMP tasks for both hands. Secondary results of the study support the concurrent validity of the two "children's version" tasks. Results show low to moderate correlations between performance on the NHPT subtests and the BOTMP subtest tasks, with significant correlations ranging from -.31 to -.47. Given the negative and low correlations obtained in this study, it is suggested that more extensive longitudinal research examine the relationship between postural control and fine motor manual dexterity performance.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hand / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Task Performance and Analysis