Assessing the reliability and responsiveness of 5 shoulder questionnaires

J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 1998 Nov-Dec;7(6):565-72. doi: 10.1016/s1058-2746(98)90002-7.


The purpose of this study was to compare the test-retest reliability and responsiveness of 5 different shoulder questionnaires in a sample of patients with shoulder pain. Ninety-nine patients completed the following shoulder questionnaires on 2 occasions: Subjective Shoulder Rating Scale, Simple Shoulder Test, Modified-American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons Form, Shoulder Severity Index, and the Shoulder Pain and Disability Index. The Short Form-36 was also included. Test-retest reliability was assessed with intraclass correlation coefficients. Standardized response means were calculated to assess responsiveness. This procedure was done on 33 subjects who underwent rotator cuff surgery or total shoulder arthroplasty and who believed that they had improved between testings. All questionnaires had acceptable reliability (coefficients > 0.75) except the Subjective Shoulder Rating Scale (coefficient = 0.71) and were more responsive (0.65 < Standardized response mean < 1.23) than the Short Form-36 (0.08 < Standardized response mean < 0.43) except for pain (0.91). In this longitudinal study a direct comparison of 5 shoulder questionnaires was carried out. We found the Subjective Shoulder Rating Scale to have lower reliability and responsiveness. The other 4 questionnaires including 1 developed to measure whole extremity function (Modified American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons Form) rather than the shoulder only were comparable with good reliability and responsiveness. The results indicate that the shoulder questionnaires were more sensitive to change in patients with shoulder pain than the generic questionnaire (Short Form-36), and both types of questionnaires should be used in outcome evaluations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Shoulder Pain*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires