Music Therapy Assessment Tool for Awareness in Disorders of Consciousness (MATADOC): Reliability and Validity of a Measure to Assess Awareness in Patients with Disorders of Consciousness

J Music Ther. 2016 Spring;53(1):1-26. doi: 10.1093/jmt/thv017. Epub 2015 Dec 7.


Background: Prolonged Disorders of Consciousness (PDOC) describes a population where a consciousness disorder has persisted for at least four weeks post injury but is still under investigation. Complex motor, sensory, communication, and cognitive impairments cause challenges with diagnosis, assessment, and intervention planning. Developing sensitive, reliable, and valid measures is a central concern. The auditory modality is the most sensitive for identifying awareness; however, the current standardized behavioral measures fail to provide adequate screening and measurement of auditory responsiveness. The Music Therapy Assessment Tool for Awareness in Disorders of Consciousness (MATADOC) is a recently standardized measure for assessment with PDOC; however, psychometric values for two of its subscales require examination.

Objective: To determine the measurement characteristics and properties of the MATADOC subscales two and three.

Methods: In a convenience sample of 21participants with PDOC, a prospective repeated measures study examined inter-rater reliability (IRR) and test-retest reliability (TRR) for both subscales and internal consistency of subscale two.

Results: Overall, the items from the MATADOC subscales two and three demonstrated good agreement across and within assessors, with some variability on two identified items.

Conclusions: The MATADOC is a standardized measure for assessment of auditory responsiveness in PDOC. Psychometric limitations for the two identified items may have resulted from variations in music therapist clinical experience and training, leading to variations in the administration and interpretation of PDOC patient responses to these two MATADOC assessment items. Although its psychometric properties could be improved, the MATADOC's clinimetric properties make it a valuable assessment to guide clinical work for patients with PDOC.

Keywords: assessment; brain injuries; disorders of consciousness; minimally conscious state; music therapy; vegetative state.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Awareness*
  • Consciousness Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Music Therapy / methods*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Young Adult