The Graded Redefined Assessment of Strength Sensibility and Prehension: Reliability and Validity

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With the advent of new interventions targeted at both acute and chronic spinal cord injury (SCI), it is critical that techniques and protocols are developed that reliably evaluate changes in upper limb impairment/function. The Graded Redefined Assessment of Strength Sensibility and Prehension (GRASSP) protocol, which includes five subtests, is a quantitative clinical upper limb impairment measure designed for use in acute and chronic cervical SCI. The objectives of this study were to: (1) establish the inter-rater and test-retest reliability, and (2) establish the construct and concurrent validity with the International Standards of Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury (ISNCSCI), Spinal Cord Independence Measure II (SCIM), and the Capabilities of Upper Extremity Questionnaire (CUE). The study protocol included repeated administration of the GRASSP to a cross-section of individuals with tetraplegia who were neurologically stable (n=72). ISNCSCI, CUE, and SCIM assessments were also administered. Two assessors examined the individuals over a 7-day period. Reliability was tested with intra-class correlation coefficients; construct validity was established with agreement/discordance analysis between the GRASSP and ISNCSCI sensory and motor items; and concurrent validity was tested with Spearman correlation coefficients. Inter-rater and test-retest reliability for all subtests within the GRASSP were above the hypothesized value of 0.80 (0.84–0.96 and 0.86–0.98, respectively). The GRASSP is about 50% more sensitive (construct validity) than the ISNCSCI when defining sensory and motor integrity of the upper limb; the subtests showed concurrence with the SCIM, SCIM self-care subscale, and CUE. The strongest concurrence to impairment was with self-perception of function (CUE) (0.57–0.83, p<0.0001). The GRASSP was found to demonstrate reliability, construct validity, and concurrent validity for use as a standardized upper limb impairment measure for individuals with tetraplegia.


This article was originally published in Journal of Neurotrauma, volume 29, issue 5, in 2012. DOI: 10.1089/neu.2010.1504

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Mary Ann Liebert