Reliability of the Parallel Walk Test for the Elderly.

Sally Lark, Peter McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


ObjectiveTo determine interrater agreement and test-retest reliability of the parallel walk test (PWT), a simple method of measuring dynamic balance in the elderly during gait. DesignCohort study. SettingOutpatient clinic. ParticipantsElderly fallers (N=34; mean ± SD age, 81.3±5.4y) registered at a falls clinic participated in this study based on Mini-Mental State Examination and Barthel Index scores. InterventionsSubjects were timed as they walked 6m between 2 parallel lines on the floor at 3 different widths (20, 30.5, 38cm) wearing their own footwear. They were scored for foot placement on (1 point) or outside the lines (2 points) by 2 separate raters. Fifteen subjects were retested 1 week later. Main Outcome MeasuresFootfall score and time to complete the PWT. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) and 95% limits of agreement were calculated for interrater and test-retest reliability. ResultsFor widths of 20, 30.5, and 38cm, interrater reliability ICC range was .93 to .99 and test-retest ICC range was .63 to .90. ConclusionsThe PWT was implemented easily by 2 raters with a high degree of interrater reliability. Test-retest reliability was not as high, possibly because of the high susceptibility of variation from 1 week to the next for frail elderly subjects. The 20- and 30.5-cm widths are recommended for future use of the PWT.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)812 - 817
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2011


  • aged
  • balance
  • gait
  • rehabilitation
  • reliability


Dive into the research topics of 'Reliability of the Parallel Walk Test for the Elderly.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this