Test-Retest Reliability of the Mini-BESTest in People With Mild to Moderate Multiple Sclerosis

Phys Ther. 2021 May 4;101(5):pzab045. doi: 10.1093/ptj/pzab045.


Objective: The mini-Balance Evaluation Systems Test (BESTest) is a balance measure for assessment of the underlying physiological systems for balance control in adults. Evaluations of test-retest reliability of the mini-BESTest in larger samples of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) are lacking. The purpose of this study was to investigate test-retest reliability of the mini-BESTest total and section sum scores and individual items in people with mild to moderate overall MS disability.

Methods: This study used a test-retest design in a movement laboratory setting. Fifty-four people with mild to moderate overall MS disability according to the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) were included, with 28 in the mild subgroup (EDSS 2.0-3.5) and 26 in the moderate subgroup (EDSS 4.0-5.5). Test-retest reliability of the mini-BESTest was evaluated by repeated measurements taken 1 week apart. Reliability and measurement error were analyzed.

Results: Test-retest reliability for the total scores was considered good to excellent, with intraclass correlation coefficients of .88 for the whole sample, .83 for the mild MS subgroup, and .80 for the moderate MS subgroup. Measurement errors were small, with standard error of measurement and minimal detectable change of 1.3 and 3.5, respectively, in mild MS, and 1.7 and 4.7, respectively, in moderate MS. The limits of agreement were -3.4 and 4.6. Test-retest reliability for the section scores were fair to good or excellent; weighted kappa values ranged from .62 to .83. All items but 1 showed fair to good or excellent test-retest reliability, and percentage agreement ranged from 61% to 100%.

Conclusion: The mini-BESTest demonstrated good to excellent test-retest reliability and small measurement errors and is recommended for use in people with mild to moderate MS.

Impact: Knowledge of limits of agreement and minimal detectable change contribute to the interpretability of the mini-BESTest total score. The findings of this study enhance the clinical usefulness of the test for evaluation of balance control and for designing individually customized balance training with high precision and accuracy in people with MS.

Keywords: Balance Control; Multiple Sclerosis; Outcome Measurement; Test–Retest Reliability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / rehabilitation*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / standards*
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Reproducibility of Results