Environmental factors item development for persons with stroke, traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injury

Allen W. Heinemann*, Susan Magasi, Joy Hammel, Noelle E. Carlozzi, Sofia F. Garcia, Elizabeth A. Hahn, Jin Shei Lai, David Tulsky, David B. Gray, Holly Hollingsworth, Sara Jerousek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Objectives To describe methods used in operationalizing environmental factors; to describe the results of a research project to develop measures of environmental factors that affect participation; and to define an initial item set of facilitators and barriers to participation after stroke, traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injury. Design Instrument development included an extensive literature review, item classification and selection, item writing, and cognitive testing following the approach of the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System. Setting Community. Participants Content area and outcome measurement experts (n=10) contributed to instrument development; individuals (n=200) with the target conditions participated in focus groups and in cognitive testing (n=15). Interventions None. Main Outcome Measures Environmental factor items were categorized in 6 domains: assistive technology; built and natural environment; social environment; services, systems, and policies; access to information and technology; and economic quality of life. Results We binned 2273 items across the 6 domains, winnowed this pool to 291 items for cognitive testing, and recommended 274 items for pilot data collection. Conclusions Five of the 6 domains correspond closely to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health taxonomy of environmental factors; the sixth domain, economic quality of life, reflects an important construct that reflects financial resources that affect participation. Testing with a new and larger sample is underway to evaluate reliability, validity, and sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)589-595
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Environment
  • Qualitative research
  • Questionnaires
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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