Measuring participation after stroke: a review of frequently used tools

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2013 Jan;94(1):177-92. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2012.09.002. Epub 2012 Sep 11.


Objective: To identify and critique the measures currently used to assess participation in clinical stroke studies.

Data sources: Relevant articles published between January 2001 and April 2012 identified through Medline, CINAHL, and ProQuest Central databases.

Study selection: Published articles involving poststroke assessment of participation. Case studies, cohort studies, and randomized controlled trials were included.

Data extraction: The most frequently used measures were identified and the psychometric properties evaluated. Three raters independently evaluated each measure relative to the first and second coding levels of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) Activities and Participation domain categories.

Data synthesis: Thirty-six measures were identified. The Stroke Impact Scale (SIS), London Handicap Scale, Assessment of Life Habits (LIFE-H), Frenchay Activities Index, and Activity Card Sort (ACS) were used most frequently. No single measure met criteria across all psychometric indices, and not one covered all 9 of the ICF Activities and Participation domains. The SIS, LIFE-H, and ACS covered the widest range. The domains covered most frequently were Community, Social and Civic Life, Domestic Life, and Mobility. Learning and Applying Knowledge, General Tasks and Demands, and Communication were the domains less frequently covered.

Conclusions: This review identified and evaluated the most frequently used participation measures in clinical stroke studies. The SIS, LIFE-H, and ACS covered the ICF Activities and Participation domain categories most comprehensively. However, none of the measures covered all the ICF Activities and Participation domain categories. The information provided in this systematic review can be used to guide the selection of participation measures to meet specific clinical and research purposes.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living* / classification
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Disabled Persons / classification
  • Disabled Persons / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Psychometrics
  • Stroke / physiopathology*
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*