Systematic literature review on ICF from 2001 to 2009: Its use, implementation and operationalisation

Milda Cerniauskaite, Rui Quintas, Christine Boldt, Alberto Raggi, Alarcos Cieza, Jerome Edmond Bickenbach, Matilde Leonardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose.To present a systematic literature review on the state of the art of the utilisation of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health ICF since its release in 2001. Method.The search was conducted through EMBASE, MEDLINE and PsychInfo covering the period between 2001 and December 2009. Papers were included if ICF was mentioned in title or abstract. Papers focussing on the ICF-CY and clinical research on children and youth only were excluded. Papers were assigned to six different groups covering the wide scenario of ICF application. Results.A total of 672 papers, coming from 34 countries and 211 different journals, were included in the analysis. The majority of publications 30.8% were conceptual papers or papers reporting clinical and rehabilitation studies (25.9.%) One-third of the papers were published in 2008 and 2009. Conclusions.The ICF contributed to the development of research on functioning and on disability in clinical, rehabilitation as well as in several other contexts, such as disability eligibility and employment. Diffusion of ICF research and use in a great variety of fields and scientific journals is a proof that a cultural change and a new conceptualisation of functioning and disability is happening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-309
Number of pages29
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • disability
  • functioning
  • health
  • ICF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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