The central role of trunk control in the gross motor function of children with cerebral palsy: a retrospective cross-sectional study

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2015 Apr;57(4):351-7. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.12641. Epub 2014 Nov 20.


Aim: Improvement of gross motor function and mobility are primary goals of physical therapy in children with cerebral palsy (CP). The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between segmental control of the trunk and the corresponding gross motor function in children with CP.

Method: This retrospective cross-sectional study was based on 92 consecutive referrals of children with CP in Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) levels I to V, 39 females, 53 males (median age 4y [range 1-14y]), and 77, 12, and 3 with spastic, dyskinetic, and ataxic CP respectively. The participants were tested using the Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM), the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory (PEDI), and the Segmental Assessment of Trunk Control (SATCo).

Results: Linear regression analysis showed a positive relationship between the segmental level of trunk control and age, with both gross motor function and mobility. Segmental trunk control measured using the SATCo could explain between 38% and 40% of variation in GMFM and between 32% and 37% of variation in PEDI.

Interpretation: This study suggests a strong association between segmental trunk postural control and gross motor function and mobility with significant clinical implications for the treatment of children with CP.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cerebral Palsy / diagnosis
  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Torso / physiopathology*