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Borg’s Rating of Perceived Exertion Scales: Do the Verbal Anchors Mean the Same for Different Clinical Groups?

      Abstract

      Dawes HN, Barker KL, Cockburn J, Roach N, Scott O, Wade D. Borg’s rating of perceived exertion scales: do the verbal anchors mean the same for different clinical groups?

      Objective

      To examine the interpretation of the verbal anchors used in the Borg rating of perceived exertion (RPE) scales in different clinical groups and a healthy control group.

      Design

      Prospective experimental study.

      Setting

      Rehabilitation center.

      Participants

      Nineteen subjects with brain injury, 16 with chronic low back pain (CLBP), and 20 healthy controls.

      Interventions

      Not applicable.

      Main outcome measures

      Subjects used a visual analog scale (VAS) to rate their interpretation of the verbal anchors from the Borg RPE 6–20 and the newer 10-point category ratio scale.

      Results

      All groups placed the verbal anchors in the order that they occur on the scales. There were significant within-group differences (P>.05) between VAS scores for 4 verbal anchors in the control group, 8 in the CLBP group, and 2 in the brain injury group. There was no significant difference in rating of each verbal anchor between the groups (P>.05).

      Conclusions

      All subjects rated the verbal anchors in the order they occur on the scales, but there was less agreement in rating of each verbal anchor among subjects in the brain injury group. Clinicians should consider the possibility of small discrepancies in the meaning of the verbal anchors to subjects, particularly those recovering from brain injury, when they evaluate exercise perceptions.

      Key words

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