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Factors Associated With Performance On Short-Form Functional Capacity Evaluation In Workers’ Compensation Claimants Open Access


Other title
Short-Form Functional Capacity Evaluation
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Supervisor and department
Gross,Douglas (Physical Therapy)
Examining committee member and department
Manns, Patricia (Physical Therapy)
Gross, Douglas (Physical Therapy)
Muir, Iain (Physical Therapy)
Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine
Rehabilitation Science
Date accepted
Graduation date
2017-06:Spring 2017
Master of Science
Degree level
Background Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCE) are performance-based assessments of work ability that are used to make recommendations for participation in work and other activities of daily living. FCE protocol developers have attempted to decrease the burden and duration of testing through the creation of short-form FCE (SF-FCE) protocols. Physical, psychological, and social factors have been found associated with claimant performance during full FCE. However, it is unknown whether the same factors are associated with performance during SF-FCE. It may be that shortening the duration of the assessment and reducing the number of test items leads to reduced pain exacerbation and a reduced influence of psychological factors, with more of a focus on ‘physical’ ability. If this were the case, psychological and self-report measures would likely not be significantly associated with SF-FCE performance. However, if the SF-FCE is measuring the same behaviours as those observed during full FCE protocols, the same physical and psychological factors will be found significantly associated with SF-FCE performance. Objective The purpose of this thesis was to examine factors associated with performance during SF-FCE of workers’ compensation claimants with musculoskeletal conditions. Knowing this will allow a comparison of factors associated with SF-FCE performance to those known to be associated with full, lengthier FCE protocols. We hypothesized that factors associated with claimant performance on SF-FCE protocols would be the same as those associated with performance on full FCE protocols. Methods A cross-sectional study design was used. A secondary analysis was conducted on data obtained in a previous study examining the effectiveness of a SF-FCE. All participants were workers’ compensation claimants who were assessed between October 18, 2004 through May 6, 2005, at a workers’ compensation rehabilitation center in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The University of Alberta Health Research Ethics Board approved this study. Measures included demographic variables (i.e. age, sex), patient reported outcomes (i.e. pain intensity, perceived disability, recovery expectations), and measures of SF-FCE performance (number of ‘failed’ SF-FCE tasks where performance did not match job demands and weight lifted during floor-to-waist lift). To determine associations between performance on short-from FCE and factors hypothesized to influence performance, Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated for continuous variables and Point-Biserial correlation coefficients were calculated for dichotomous variables. Results The data set included 450 injured workers with open workers’ compensation claims for a variety of musculoskeletal disorders. The majority of claimants were employed (74%) and male (70%). Male sex and younger age were statistically significantly correlated with higher weight lifted on the floor to waist lift, with correlation coefficients which were small to moderate in magnitude (r = 0.28 and -0.33 respectively, p<0.01). Better lifting performance was also significantly correlated with lower pain intensity (r = -0.24, p=0.01), lower self-rated disability (r = -0.43, p<0.01), and better recovery expectations (r = -0.19, p=0.03). The only clinical variable not significantly associated with floor-to-waist lifting was the Workplace Support Questionnaire (p=0.25). Higher number of failed SF-FCE tasks was significantly correlated with higher pain intensity (r = 0.15, p=0.01), higher self-rated disability (r = 0.39, p<0.01), worse recovery expectations (r = 0.31, p<0.01), and worse perceptions of workplace support (r = -0.13, p=0.02). Conclusions Better lifting performance on SF-FCE is significantly associated with younger age and male sex. Higher pain intensity, pain-related disability, and lower recovery expectations are significantly associated with more failed items on the SF-FCE. Results support our hypotheses that factors significantly associated with claimant performance on SF-FCE protocols would be the same as those previously found associated with performance on full FCE protocols. Further research is needed to evaluate the validity of SF-FCE in other contexts and settings.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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