Generic ABILHAND questionnaire can measure manual ability across a variety of motor impairments

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


ABILHAND is, in its original version, a 46-item, 4-level questionnaire. It measures the difficulty perceived by patients with rheumatoid arthritis as they do various daily manual tasks. ABILHAND was originally built through Rasch analysis. In a later study, it was simplified to a generic 23-item, three-level questionnaire, showing both cross-cultural (Belgium vs. Italy) and cross-impairment (rheumatoid arthritis vs. stroke) validity. Later research returned to the development of impairment-specific versions, with modified item sets and levels. Each version has its own Rasch-derived item difficulty calibrations, which are required to extract the patient's measure from the individual string of responses, through computerized algorithms. All of these hamper the practical application of the scale in rehabilitation units, where patients with diverse conditions may share similar impairments and treatment approaches. In this study through Rasch analysis the 'generic' scale was applied to 126 chronic patients with different upper limb impairments, and to 24 healthy controls. It was supported that the generic questionnaire remains valid across a variety of motor impairments. To further facilitate clinical application, a normative cut-off (>79 of 100) is suggested. Rasch-based item calibrations are provided together with a software routine designed to calculate, on individual patients, linear 0-100 measures and error estimates from the raw scores.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-140
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Rehabilitation Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • disability
  • outcome assessment
  • psychometrics
  • questionnaires
  • Rasch analysis
  • upper limb

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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