Purpose: Balance rehabilitation is an important component of the retraining program in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Measuring balance is fundamental for an accurate assessment and therapy selection. The aim of this study was to compare interrater and test-retest reliability of the Berg Balance Scale, the Dynamic Gait Index, the Dizziness Handicap Inventory and the Activities-specific Balance Confidence.
Method: A group of 25 persons were enrolled in the study. The group consisted of 8 males and 17 females, mean age 41.7 years (12.5 years, SD). The onset of pathology was 8.7 years (8.8 years SD) before the beginning of the study. To assess the test-retest reliability two consecutive assessments were collected by the same rater. To assess the inter-rater reliability persons were concurrently assessed by two raters.
Results: The Intraclass Correlation Coefficients (ICCs) for interrater reliability ranged between 0.94 and 0.96. The ICCs for test-retest reliability ranged between 0.85 and 0.96.
Conclusion: The inter-rater reliability of the instruments proved to be satisfactory. Lower but acceptable results were obtained for the test-retest paradigm. The data obtained in this study suggest that these scales are reliable tools for assessing balance function in persons suffering from MS.