Introduction This systematic review appraises the measurement quality of tools which assess activity and/or participation in adults with upper limb spasticity arising from neurological impairment, including methodological quality of the psychometric studies. Differences in the measurement quality of the tools for adults with a neurological impairment, but without upper limb spasticity, is also presented. Methods 29 measurement tools identified in a published review were appraised in this systematic review. For each identified tool, we searched 3 databases (Medline, Embase, CINAHL) to identify psychometric studies completed with neurorehabilitation samples. Methodological quality of instrument evaluations was assessed with use of the Consensus-based Standards for the Selection of Health Status Measurement Instruments (COSMIN) checklist. Synthesis of ratings allowed an overall rating of the psychometric evidence for each measurement tool to be calculated. Results 149 articles describing the development or evaluation of psychometric properties of 22 activity and/or participation measurement tools were included. Evidence specific to tool use for adults with spasticity was identified within only 15 of the 149 articles and provided evidence for 9 measurement tools only. Overall, COSMIN appraisal highlighted a lack of evidence of measurement quality. Synthesis of ratings demonstrated all measures had psychometric weaknesses or gaps in evidence (particularly for use of tools with adults with spasticity). Conclusions The systematic search, appraisal and synthesis revealed that currently there is insufficient measurement quality evidence to recommend one tool over another. Notwithstanding this conclusion, newer tools specifically designed for use with people with neurological conditions who have upper limb spasticity, have emergent measurement properties that warrant further research.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0246288
Pages (from-to)e0246288
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2 February
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


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