Objective: The purpose of this project was to examine the inter-rater reliability of the Arthritis Hand Function Test (AHFT), a new instrument for measuring hand strength and dexterity in adults with arthritis.
Methods: Six occupational therapists (two at each of three sites) trained themselves as AHFT administrators using the test manual and training videotape. They recruited 30 adult subjects (10 at each site) with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis affecting the hands. There were 21 women and 9 men in the sample (mean age, 57.5 years; average time since diagnosis, 14.8 years). Subjects were tested twice, once by each rater from that site.
Results: Inter-rater reliability ranged from 0.45 to 0.99 (Pearson r). Because subjects were tested twice, AHFT scores were examined for an order effect. Although scores on all strength items declined by the second test session, and improved for all dexterity items, only the aggregate applied dexterity score showed significant change across all three sites (P = 0.002, 0.001, and 0.031, respectively).
Conclusions: These results suggest the AHFT is a reliable instrument for measuring hand strength and dexterity that requires minimal training on the part of occupational therapist raters.