Validation of the Spinal Cord Injury–Functional Index for Use in Community-Dwelling Individuals With SCI

Callie E. Tyner*, Pamela A. Kisala, Allen W. Heinemann, Denise Fyffe, Denise G. Tate, Mary D. Slavin, Alan M. Jette, David S. Tulsky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the psychometric properties of the Spinal Cord Injury–Functional Index (SCI-FI) instruments in a community-dwelling sample. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Community setting. Participants: Individuals (N=269) recruited from 6 SCI Model Systems sites. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: Participants completed computer adaptive test and short form versions of 4 SCI-FI/Capacity (C) banks (ie, Ambulation, Basic Mobility, Fine Motor, Self-Care) and 1 SCI-FI/Assistive Technology (AT) bank (Wheelchair Mobility) at baseline and after 2 weeks. The Self-Report Functional Measure (SRFM) and the clinician-rated motor FIM were used to evaluate evidence of convergent validity. Results: Pearson correlations, intraclass correlation coefficients, minimal detectable change, and Bland-Altman plots supported the test-retest reliability of the SCI-FI instruments. Correlations were large with the SRFM (.69-.89) and moderate-to-large for the FIM instrument (.44-.64), supporting convergent validity. Known-groups validity was demonstrated by a significant main effect of injury level on all instruments and a main effect of injury completeness on the SCI-FI/C instruments. A ceiling effect was detected for individuals with incomplete paraplegia on the Fine Motor/C and Self-Care/C Short Forms. Conclusion: Findings support the test-retest reliability, convergent validity, and known-groups validity of the SCI-FI/C instruments and the SCI-FI/AT Wheelchair Mobility instruments for use by community-dwelling individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-198
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Patient-reported outcome measures
  • Psychometrics
  • Quality of life
  • Rehabilitation
  • Spinal cord injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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