Using cognitive interviewing for test items to assess physical function in children with cerebral palsy

Helene M. Dumas, Kyle Watson, Maria A. Fragala-Pinkham, Stephen M. Haley, Nathalie Bilodeau, Kathleen Montpetit, George E. Gorton, M. J. Mulcahey, Carole A. Tucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


PURPOSE:: The purpose of this study was to assess the content, format, and comprehension of test items and responses developed for use in a computer adaptive test (CAT) of physical function for children with cerebral palsy (CP). METHODS:: After training in cognitive interviewing techniques, investigators defined item intent and developed questions for each item. Parents of children with CP (n ≤ 27) participated in interviews probing item meaning, item wording, and response choice adequacy and appropriateness. RESULTS:: Qualitative analysis identified 3 themes: item clarity; relevance, context, and attribution; and problems with wording or tone. Parents reported the importance of delineating task components, assistance amount, and environmental context. CONCLUSION:: Cognitive interviewing provided valuable information about the validity of new items and insight to improve relevance and context. We believe that the development of CATs in pediatric rehabilitation may ultimately reduce the impact of the issues identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)356-362
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Physical Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Activities of daily living
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Child
  • Computers
  • Outcome assessment (healthcare)/methods
  • Parents
  • Psychometrics
  • Test development
  • Validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Using cognitive interviewing for test items to assess physical function in children with cerebral palsy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this