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Rehab Measures: Physical Performance Test

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Link to Instrument 

Title of Assessment

Physical Performance Test 


Instrument Reviewer(s)

Initially reviewed by Sabina N. Wafula in 10/2012

Summary Date



Assesses multiple domains of Physical function using observed performance of tasks that simulate activities of daily living of various degrees of difficulty in elderly persons


  • Two Versions: 9-item scale and 7-item scale
  • A 5-point scale of (0-4) on each item
  • Minimum score of 0 for both scales
  • Maximum of 36 for 9-item scale; 28 for 7- item scale
  • A higher totaled score is indicative of better physical performance
  • Subject is given a command “go” to perform a task. Timed to completion in seconds. A corresponding score is given from 0-4 determined by seconds taken to complete the task
  • Scores from each task are totaled

Area of Assessment


Body Part


ICF Domain




Assessment Type


Length of Test

06 to 30 Minutes 

Time to Administer

5-10 minutes

Number of Items

9-items; 7-items 

Equipment Required

  • Stopwatch
  • Pen
  • Paper
  • 5 kidney beans
  • A teaspoon
  • An empty coffee can
  • A heavy book
  • Shelf
  • Jacket, cardigan sweater, or lab coat
  • A penny

Training Required


Type of training required

No Training 



Actual Cost

Cost of equipment

Age Range


Administration Mode



Cardiac Conditions; Geriatrics; Parkinson’s Disease; Stroke 

Populations Tested

  • Elderly
  • Dementia
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Cancer
  • Carotid Artery Disease
  • Stroke

Standard Error of Measurement (SEM)

Parkinson Disease: (Paschal, 2006; n =14; mean age = 62.4(6.3); mean time of diagnosis 6.4(6.3) years; modified Hoehn and Yahr Stages 2 and 2.5)

  • SEM for entire group (n = 14); 1.2 (7-point scale)
  • SEM for entire group (n = 14); 1.1 (9-point scale)

Minimal Detectable Change (MDC)

Parkinson's Disease: (Paschal et al, 2006)

  • MDC (n = 14); 2.5 (calculated from Paschal, 2006)

Minimally Clinically Important Difference (MCID)

Elderly: (King, 2000; n = 45; mean age = 77.9 (5.9); mobility impaired)

  • MDIC for intervention group n = 18 was (2.4)

Cut-Off Scores

9-point scale: (Lusardi et al, 2003; n = 76; mean age (mean age = 82.7 ± 7.9 years; All study participants were community dwelling and independently ambulatory at a FIM locomotor score of 6 or 7)

  • 32-36 = not frail
  • 25-32 = mild frailty
  • 17-24 = moderate frailty
  • < 17 = unlikely to be able to function in the community

7-point scale: (Lusardi et al, 2003)

  • < 19.4 = moderate frailty (Brown et al, 2000)
  • 19.4-24.8 = mild frailty

9-point scale: (Brown et al, 2000)

  • 25-31 = mild frailty
  • 32-36 = not frail

Normative Data

Not Established

Test-retest Reliability

Parkinson’s Disease: (Paschal et al, 2006)

  • Excellent test-retest reliability (ICC = 0.818) 7-point scale
  • Excellent test-retest reliability ( ICC = 0.895) 9-point scale

Dementia: (Farrell et al, 2010; n = 33; mean score 10-24; 7-item PPT on 2 days with performance on day 2 videotaped)

  • Excellent test-retest reliability determined using ICC (3,1) = 0.90 Elderly: (King, 2000)
  • Excellent test-retest reliability on 8-item PPT (ICC = .88)

Interrater/Intrarater Reliability

Elderly and Parkinson's Disease: (Reuben & Siu (1990); n = 183; mean age = 79(46-94); elderly outpatients)

9-point scale:

  • Excellent interrater reliability(r=0.99)

7-point scale:

  • Excellent interrater reliability (r=0.93)

Elderly: (King, 2000)

  • Excellent interrater reliability for the 8-item PPT ( ICC =.96)

Dementia: (Farrell et al, 2010)

  • Excellent intrarater reliability determined using ICC (3,1) = 0.99
  • Excellent interrater reliability determined using ICC (3,1) = 0.96

Internal Consistency

Elderly: (King, 2000)

  • Excellent internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha= .785)

Elderly and Parkinson's Disease: (Reuben& Siu, 1990)

  • Excellent internal consistency Cronbach’s alpha (0.87 on 9-item scale and 0.79 on 7-point scale)

Criterion Validity (Predictive/Concurrent)


Dementia : (Farrell et al, 2011; n = 34; MMSE score 18.4+3.3; tested with PPT then followed for four month for fall occurrences)

  • History of a fall in last 6 months was the only significant predictor of a subsequent fall (p = 0.044)
  • Score of 28 or less on 9-item PPT is predictive of diminished aerobic capacity in older adults with AD (Vidoni et al, 2012; n = 130; older adults with and without dementia)
  • Moderate sensitivity and specificity (58% and 77%) for a history of a fall
  • Negative likelihood ratios were 2.52 and .58
  • Moderate sensitivity (67%); moderate specificity (67%) specificity that functionally limiting aerobic capacity would limit function (Vidoni et al, 2012)
  • High sensitivity (85%) and moderate specificity (62%) for the 4-point mini-PPT (Vidoni et al, 2012)

Elderly: (Delbaere et al, 2006; n = 263; mean age 72; community dwelling elderly)

  • A low PPT score was the best physical predictor ( OR 4.16; P<0.001)
  • Combination of PPT and maximal hand grip strength were the best predictors of future falls

Elderly : (Rozzini et al, 1997; n =549; mean age = 76.9 (5.4) years; 4.6 (2.0) years of education; MMSE and GDS scores 25.5 (4.5, 3.8 (3.2); and were affected by chronic conditions 3.5 (2.3) )

  • PPT predicts ADL functional limitations before such limitations were detected using self-report scales in patients with chronic conditions

Concurrent validity:

Parkinson and Elderly: (Reuben & Siu, 1990)

  • Excellent correlation of the 9-item scale with basic Katz Activities of daily living( r = 0.65)
  • Adequate correlation of the 7-item scale with basic Katz Activities of daily living (r = 0.50)
  • Excellent correlation of the 9-item scale with the hierarchical scale of instrumental and basic activities of daily living ( r = 0.69)
  • Adequate correlation of the 7-item scale with the hierarchical scale of instrumental and basic activities of daily living (r = 0.56 )
  • Excellent correlations with a modified four-item Roscow Breslau (r = 0.80 and r = 0.69) for the 9 and 7-item scales
  • Excellent correlations for both scales with the Tinnetti gait score (r = .78 and r = 0.69)
  • Slightly lower correlations for nonparametric (Spearman) and the 9 and 7-item scales

Construct Validity (Convergent/Discriminant)

Construct Validity

Parkinson and Elderly: (Reuben & Siu, 1990)

  • Poor to adequate correlation of PPT and mental health(MHI) (.24 and .32)
  • Adequate to poor correlation of PPT and perceived health status ; (.32 and .27)
  • Adequate correlation of PPT and mental status (MMSE); .47 and .40
  • Poor correlation with age(-.24 and -.18)

Dementia : (Shah et al, 2004; n = 99; 85 years and older; n =45 had DAT (CDR = 0.5-2) and n=54 were nondemented controls)

  • Moderate correlation (taub > 0.30, p < 0.05) between impaired PPT performance, higher CDR rating and poor general health including difficulty ambulating
  • Poor correlation (taub = -0.36) between dementia severity and PPT performance; decreased to (taub = -0.19) after controlling cognitive ability

Content Validity

Not Established

Face Validity

Not Established

Floor/Ceiling Effects

Parkinson's Disease: (Paschal et al, 2006)

  • Excellent - Resistant to floor and ceiling effects on scores from the 7 and the 9-item scales.


Parkinson's Disease: (Paschal et al, 2006)

  • Relatively insensitive to short term symptom fluctuations typical in Parkinson's Disease (7-item 6%, 9-item 4%)

Elderly: (King MB et al, 2000)

  • Small responsiveness .8 for the PPT-8

Professional Association Recommendations

Recommendations for use of the instrument from the Neurology Section of the American Physical Therapy Association’s Multiple Sclerosis Taskforce (MSEDGE), Parkinson’s Taskforce (PD EDGE), Spinal Cord Injury Taskforce (PD EDGE), Stroke Taskforce (StrokEDGE), Traumatic Brain Injury Taskforce (TBI EDGE), and Vestibular Taskforce (VEDGE) are listed below. These recommendations were developed by a panel of research and clinical experts using a modified Delphi process.


For detailed information about how recommendations were made, please visit:




Highly Recommend




Reasonable to use, but limited study in target group  / Unable to Recommend


Not Recommended


Recommendations Based on Parkinson Disease Hoehn and Yahr stage:














Recommendations for entry-level physical therapy education and use in research:


Students should learn to administer this tool? (Y/N)

Students should be exposed to tool? (Y/N)

Appropriate for use in intervention research studies? (Y/N)

Is additional research warranted for this tool (Y/N)





Not reported


(Lusardi et al,2003)

  • Performance on the PPT for relatively healthy, community living older adults is not well documented.

(Paschal et al, 2006)

  • A learning curve can be expected with use of the PPT given the 2 trials of each task

(Reuben & Siu, 1990)

  • Unable to test against a gold standard for functional capacity
  • Although subjects may have been able to perform tasks in research setting, they may be less motivated to perform similar tasks at home
  • PPT cannot differentiate unmotivated from incapable patients
  • Tasks chosen may be incomplete measurements of functional status
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Brown, M., Sinacore, D. R., et al. (2000). "Physical and performance measures for the identification of mild to moderate frailty." J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 55(6): M350-355. Find it on PubMed

Delbaere, K., Van den Noortgate, N., et al. (2006). "The Physical Performance Test as a predictor of frequent fallers: a prospective community-based cohort study." Clin Rehabil 20(1): 83-90. Find it on PubMed

Farrell, M. K., Rutt, R. A., et al. (2010). "Reliability of the physical performance test in people with dementia." Physical & Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics 28(2): 144-153.

Farrell, M. K., Rutt, R. A., et al. (2011). "Are scores on the physical performance test useful in determination of risk of future falls in individuals with dementia?" J Geriatr Phys Ther 34(2): 57-63. Find it on PubMed

King, M. B., Judge, J. O., et al. (2000). "Reliability and responsiveness of two physical performance measures examined in the context of a functional training intervention." Phys Ther 80(1): 8-16. Find it on PubMed

Lusardi, M. M., Pellecchia, G. L., et al. (2003). "Functional performance in community living older adults." Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy 26: 14-22.

Paschal, K., Oswald, A., et al. (2006). "Test-retest reliability of the physical performance test for persons with Parkinson disease." J Geriatr Phys Ther 29(3): 82-86. Find it on PubMed

Reuben, D. B. and Siu, A. L. (1990). "An objective measure of physical function of elderly outpatients. The Physical Performance Test." J Am Geriatr Soc 38(10): 1105-1112. Find it on PubMed

ROZZINI, R., FRISONI, G. B., et al. (1997). "The effect of chronic diseases on physical function. Comparison between activities of daily living scales and the Physical Performance Test." Age and Ageing 26(4): 281-287.

Rozzini, R., Frisoni, G. B., et al. (2002). "Geriatric Index of Comorbidity: validation and comparison with other measures of comorbidity." Age Ageing 31(4): 277-285. Find it on PubMed

Shah, K. R., Carr, D., et al. (2004). "Impaired physical performance and the assessment of dementia of the Alzheimer type." Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord 18(3): 112-119. Find it on PubMed

Vidoni, E. D., Billinger, S. A., et al. (2012). "The physical performance test predicts aerobic capacity sufficient for independence in early-stage Alzheimer disease." J Geriatr Phys Ther 35(2): 72-78. Find it on PubMed

Year published


Instrument in PDF Format

Approval Status Approved 
Created at 2/1/2013 3:39 PM  by Jason Raad 
Last modified at 8/28/2014 4:54 PM  by Jason Raad