Functional Test of the Hemiparetic Upper Extremity: A Rasch Analysis With Theoretical Implications

Published:April 20, 2017DOI:



      To investigate the measurement properties of the Functional Test of the Hemiparetic Upper Extremity (FTHUE) and examine how its score may or may not inform design of a rehabilitation program.


      The FTHUE was recently used in the Interdisciplinary Comprehensive Arm Rehabilitation Evaluation randomized controlled trial. This circumstance provided the opportunity to examine the psychometric properties of the FTHUE as it pertains to contemporary poststroke rehabilitation and recovery models.


      Outpatient rehabilitation clinic.


      Participants (N=109; mean age, 61.2±13.5y; mean days poststroke, 46±20.3) with resultant hemiparesis in the upper extremity.


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Dimensionality was examined with confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), and person and item measures were derived with Rasch item response analysis. Therapists' notes were also reviewed.


      The CFA results support unidimensionality, and 16 of 17 items fit the Rasch model. The Rasch person separation (2.17) and item separation (4.50) indices, ability strata (3.22), person reliability (.82), and item reliability (.95) indicate good measurement properties. Item difficulties ranked from −6.46 to 3.43 logits; however, there was a substantial ceiling effect of person measures. Post hoc examination of therapists' written observations indicated that the scoring criteria are not sensitive to the movement strategy used for task completion.


      The FTHUE's item difficulty hierarchy indicated that scores adequately distinguished the ability to perform simple versus complex motor movements of functional tasks. However, the FTHUE scoring method did not allow inclusion of the type of movement strategy used to accomplish task items. Therefore, we suggest modifications to the FTHUE that would allow it to be used for collaborative treatment planning and align well with more contemporary perspectives on treatment theory.


      List of abbreviations:

      ASAP (Accelerated Skill Acquisition Program), CFA (confirmatory factor analysis), FTHUE (Functional Test of the Hemiparetic Upper Extremity), ICARE (Interdisciplinary Comprehensive Arm Rehabilitation Evaluation), MnSq (mean square), UEFM (upper extremity Fugl-Meyer)
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