Low back pain in 17 countries, a Rasch analysis of the ICF core set for low back pain

Int J Rehabil Res. 2013 Mar;36(1):38-47. doi: 10.1097/MRR.0b013e328357883c.


Previous studies indicate that a worldwide measurement tool may be developed based on the International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (ICF) Core Sets for chronic conditions. The aim of the present study was to explore the possibility of constructing a cross-cultural measurement of functioning for patients with low back pain (LBP) on the basis of the Comprehensive ICF Core Set for LBP and to evaluate the properties of the ICF Core Set. The Comprehensive ICF Core Set for LBP was scored by health professionals for 972 patients with LBP from 17 countries. Qualifier levels of the categories, invariance across age, sex and countries, construct validity and the ordering of the categories in the components of body function, body structure, activities and participation were explored by Rasch analysis. The item-trait χ2-statistics showed that the 53 categories in the ICF Core Set for LBP did not fit the Rasch model (P<0.001). The main challenge was the invariance in the responses according to country. Analysis of the four countries with the largest sample sizes indicated that the data from Germany fit the Rasch model, and the data from Norway, Serbia and Kuwait in terms of the components of body functions and activities and participation also fit the model. The component of body functions and activity and participation had a negative mean location, -2.19 (SD 1.19) and -2.98 (SD 1.07), respectively. The negative location indicates that the ICF Core Set reflects patients with a lower level of function than the present patient sample. The present results indicate that it may be possible to construct a clinical measure of function on the basis of the Comprehensive ICF Core Set for LBP by calculating country-specific scores before pooling the data.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / classification
  • Chronic Pain
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Reproducibility of Results