Purpose: The disabilities of the arm, shoulder and hand (DASH) questionnaire is a self-administered region-specific outcome instrument developed as a measure of self-rated upper-extremity disability and symptoms. The aim of this study was to evaluate the reliability and the construct validity of the DASH questionnaire by establishing its correlation to the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 (SF-36) in industry workers. Also we aimed to investigate whether the DASH can be used as a standardized questionnaire to evaluate the work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) in upper extremity in industrial settings and epidemiological studies.
Material and methods: The Turkish version's reliability and construct validity were evaluated in 240 industry workers with upper-extremity musculoskeletal complaints. Workers were asked to complete a packet that included the DASH and the SF-36. Test-retest reliability was assessed in all workers who filled in the DASH questionnaire 15 days later. Construct validity was evaluated by comparing the overall and work component DASH scores with SF-36 summary and subscales.
Results: The mean DASH score for the textile workers whose duties were confection, dyeing, sewing, quality control and packaging was calculated as 65, 55, 68, 54 and 67, respectively. As a result of this study, pain intensity in shoulder, wrist and hand was significantly associated with the DASH score (p<0.05). Internal consistency of the DASH was high (Cronbach alpha 0.91). Test-retest reliability was excellent for the overall DASH (intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) 0.92). Moderate correlations (p<0.05) were found between the overall and work component DASH and the SF-36 summary scales. Pearson correlation coefficients of the overall and work component DASH to the SF-36 subscales ranged from -0.33 to -0.82.
Conclusion: These results support that DASH is a reliable and valid instrument to measure functional disability and investigate the ergonomic risk factors in textile workers with upper-extremity musculoskeletal complaints.