Objective: Clinimetric evaluation of a Dutch questionnaire version of the Barthel Index (BI).
Setting: Eight Dutch rehabilitation centres.
Methods: Interviews with 318 spinal cord injured (SCI) patients living in the community, who were between 18 and 65 years of age at the time of the interview and who were admitted for the first time after injury to a specialized rehabilitation unit between 1986 and 1992. Validity, reliability and discriminant validity of the BI were determined.
Results: This Dutch questionnaire version of the BI had good reliability (Cronbach's alpha: 0.87; all item-total correlations > or = 0.30). In case of persons with a complete SCI a strong and statistically significant relationship was found between BI score and the level of the lesion (Spearman-Brown correlation: 0.69; p < 0.0001). Patients with more serious lesions had significantly higher BI scores than patients with less serious lesions.
Conclusions: This Dutch questionnaire version of the BI was a sufficiently reliable and valid measure for assessing ability to cope in activities of daily living. Further research should be done on the test-retest reliability and responsiveness of this BI version.