Skip to main content

Rehab Measures: Borg Rating Scale of Perceived Exertion

Link to instrument


Title of Assessment

Borg Rating Scale of Perceived Exertion 



Instrument Reviewer(s)

Developed by:  Gayatri Mathur, PT
Updated by:  Jill Smiley, MPH

Summary Date



Used as a means to determine intensity of exercise


  • A 15-point category scale with verbal descriptors to standardize perceived exertion across tasks and individuals.
  • Intructions for use:  scale used to rate how hard person is working, explain 6=rest, 20=absolute maximum, grade effort using numbers and/or words.
  • Used as a measure for training intensity and outcomes for exercise - parallels physiological variables.
  • Many authors suggest carying afferent input to RPE but as yet there is no consensus in the literature as to what they are/what their effects may be (Hampson et al '01)
  • For any individual capable of exercising

Area of Assessment

Aerobic Capacity; Gait 

Body Part

Not Applicable 

ICF Domain

Body Function 



Assessment Type


Length of Test

06 to 30 Minutes 

Time to Administer

Time for initial explanation, instant feedback from patient

Number of Items

15-point category scale 

Equipment Required

Printed copy of 6-20 scale with numbers and words for descriptors

Training Required


Type of training required




Actual Cost


Age Range

Preschool Child: 2-5 years; Child: 6-12 years; Adolescent: 13-17 years; Adult: 18-64 years; Elderly adult: 65+ 

Administration Mode



Cardiac Conditions; Geriatrics; Multiple Sclerosis; Spinal Cord Injury 

Populations Tested

  • Healthy
  • Blind
  • Active and sedentary
  • Adolescents
  • Cardiac
  • Neurological
  • Elderly

Standard Error of Measurement (SEM)

Well-trained Males:  (Doherty, 2001; n=15; 30s of the subpraximal run for each test)
  • 30 seconds:  SEM = 0.79 (0.49-1.16)
  • 60 seconds:  SEM = 0.78 (0.50-1.12)
  • 90 seconds:  SEM = 0.80 (0.51-0.99)
  • 120 seconds:  SEM = 0.76 (0.47-0.93)

Minimal Detectable Change (MDC)

Minimally Clinically Important Difference (MCID)

Cut-Off Scores

Normative Data

Test-retest Reliability

Frail older adults:
  • (Mendelssohn et al, 2008)
    • HR & METs ICC=0.85-0.91

Interrater/Intrarater Reliability

Interrater Reliability:
In Braille:
  • (Buckley et al, 2000)
    • interrater reliability: good

Adolescent females:

  • (Pfeiffer, 2002)
    • ICC=0.78
Intrarater Reliability:
Healthy subjects:
  • (Eston et al, 2006)
    • Predicted VO2 max from RPE ICC 0.66-0.95
    • No gender differences
  • (Lamb et al, 1999)
    • ICC = 0.75-0.82
  • (Eston and Williams, 1988)
    • Between trials ICC=0.83 or higher




Internal Consistency

Criterion Validity (Predictive/Concurrent)

Concurrent Validity:
RPE accross the Lifespan:
(Groslambert and Mahon, 2006)
  • Children 3-7 years; poor
  • 8-12 years; variable
  • 13+ years similar to adults - good to excellent
  • 50-65, >65 no significant age effect on validity

Construct Validity (Convergent/Discriminant)

Content Validity

Face Validity

Floor/Ceiling Effects


Professional Association Recommendations


Do you see an error or have a suggestion for this instrument summary? Please e-mail us!


Year published


Instrument in PDF Format

Approval Status Approved 
Created at 7/13/2012 10:53 AM  by Jason Raad 
Last modified at 2/9/2017 11:21 AM  by Jason Raad