Factor structure of the functional movement screen in marine officer candidates

J Strength Cond Res. 2014 Mar;28(3):672-8. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182a6dd83.


Functional movement screening (FMS) is a musculoskeletal assessment that is intended to fill a gap between preparticipation examinations and performance tests. Functional movement screening consists of 7 standardized movements involving multiple muscle groups that are rated 0-3 during performance; scores are combined into a final score, which is intended to predict injury risk. This use of a sum-score in this manner assumes that the items are unidimensional and scores are internally consistent, which are measures of internal reliability. Despite research into the FMS' predictive value and interrater reliability, research has not assessed its psychometric properties. The present study is a standard psychometric analysis of the FMS and is the first to assess the internal consistency and factor structure of the FMS, using Cronbach's alpha and exploratory factor analysis (EFA). Using a cohort of 877 male and 57 female Marine officer candidates who performed the FMS, EFA of polychoric correlations with varimax rotation was conducted to explore the structure of the FMS. Tests were repeated on the original scores, which integrated feelings of pain during movement (0-3), and then on scores discounting the pain instruction and based only on the performance (1-3), to determine whether pain ratings affected the factor structure. The average FMS score was 16.7 ± 1.8. Cronbach's alpha was 0.39. Exploratory factor analysis availed 2 components accounting for 21 and 17% and consisting of separate individual movements (shoulder mobility and deep squat, respectively). Analysis on scores discounting pain showed similar results. The factor structures were not interpretable, and the low Cronbach's alpha suggests a lack of internal consistency in FMS sum scores. Results do not offer support for validity of the FMS sum score as a unidimensional construct. In the absence of additional psychometric research, caution is warranted when using the FMS sum score.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Exercise Test / statistics & numerical data*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Military Personnel*
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / physiopathology
  • Musculoskeletal Physiological Phenomena
  • Naval Medicine
  • Psychometrics
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • United States
  • Young Adult