Healthy youth are reliable in reporting symptoms on a graded symptom scale

J Sport Rehabil. 2008 Feb;17(1):11-20. doi: 10.1123/jsr.17.1.11.


Context: Clinicians often rely on the self-report symptoms of patients in making clinical decisions; hence it is important that these scales be reliable.

Objective: To determine the test-retest reliability of healthy youth in completing a graded symptom scale (GSS), modified from the Head Injury Scale Self-Report Concussion Symptoms Scale (HIS).

Design: Repeated-measures.

Setting: Middle school classroom.

Patients or other participants: 126 middle school students.

Intervention: A survey consisting of a demographic and life events questionnaire and a GSS asking about symptom severity and duration.

Main outcomes measures: Score for each symptom on the severity and duration scale and a total symptom score (TSS) and the total number of symptoms endorsed (TSE) from the severity scale. Responses on a life events questionnaire were also recorded.

Results: We found excellent reliability for TSS (ICC=.93) and TSE (ICC=.88) for the severity scale. We found moderate to excellent reliability on the individual symptoms of both the severity (ICC=.65-.89) and duration (ICC=56-.96) scales.

Conclusions: Healthy youth can reliably self-report symptoms using a GSS. This patient-oriented outcome measure should be incorporated into more investigations in this age group.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain Concussion / diagnosis*
  • Brain Concussion / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards
  • United States