Responsiveness of Goal Attainment Scaling in comparison to two standardized measures in outcome evaluation of children with cerebral palsy

Clin Rehabil. 2011 Dec;25(12):1128-39. doi: 10.1177/0269215511407220. Epub 2011 Jul 27.


Objectives: To assess the responsiveness of Goal Attainment Scaling compared with the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory (PEDI) and the 66-item Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM-66) in multidisciplinary rehabilitation practice.

Design: Observational study. Pretest-posttest design.

Subjects/patients: Twenty-three children with cerebral palsy, aged 2-13 years.

Methods: Goal Attainment Scaling, PEDI and GMFM-66 assessments were performed before and after six months of treatment. Physical, occupational and speech therapists constructed and scored 6-point Goal Attainment Scaling scales meeting predetermined criteria, describing the main functional goal per discipline. The contents of the three measures were compared using International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health child and youth version (ICF-CY) codes. Spearman's rho correlations between Goal Attainment Scaling change scores per discipline and change scores obtained with the PEDI functional skills scales and GMFM-66 were calculated. Complete goal attainment was compared with significant change in terms of the standardized measures.

Results: Twenty per cent of the Goal Attainment Scaling items were not covered by items of the PEDI or the GMFM-66. Inconclusive correlations were found between Goal Attainment Scaling and PEDI change scores (r 0.28-0.64). Even after exclusion of the non-corresponding items, correlations were moderate (r 0.57-0.73). Of 39/64 Goal Attainment Scaling scales scored as complete goal attainment, 16 individual PEDI scores did not show change on the corresponding scale. Low correlation was found between Goal Attainment Scaling change scores and GMFM-66 change scores.

Conclusion: Goal Attainment Scaling, PEDI and GMFM-66 were complementary in their ability to measure individual change over time in children with cerebral palsy. Using only the standardized instruments could have caused many individual rehabilitation goals actually attained being missed in the outcome evaluation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology*
  • Cerebral Palsy / rehabilitation*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Female
  • Goals
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Treatment Outcome