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Refinement, Reliability, and Validity of the Segmental Assessment of Trunk Control

Butler, Penelope B. PhD, MCSP; Saavedra, Sandy PT, MS; Sofranac, Madeline BS; Jarvis, Sarah E. MSc, MCSP; Woollacott, Marjorie H. PhD

Pediatric Physical Therapy:
doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e3181e69490
Research Article

Purpose: The Segmental Assessment of Trunk Control (SATCo) provides a systematic method of assessing discrete levels of trunk control in children with motor disabilities. This study refined the assessment method and examined reliability and validity of the SATCo.

Methods: After refining guidelines, 102 video recordings of the SATCo were made of 8 infants with typical development followed longitudinally from 3 to 9 months of age and 24 children with neuromotor disability with a mean age of 10 years 4 months. Eight researchers independently scored recordings.

Results: Intraclass correlation coefficient values for interrater reliability were more than 0.84 and 0.98 across all data sets and all aspects of control. Tests of concurrent validity with the Alberta Infant Motor Scales resulted in coefficients ranging from 0.86 to 0.88.

Conclusion: The SATCo is a reliable and valid measure allowing clinicians greater specificity in assessing trunk control.

In Brief

The authors report strong results in their study of the reliability and validity of their test of segmental control of the trunk. This work will provide clinicians with the ability to conduct more definitive assessments of trunk control in children with neuromuscular disorders.

Author Information

The Movement Centre, Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital, Oswestry, Shropshire, United Kingdom (Dr Butler and Ms Jarvis); and Department of Human Physiology, University of Oregon, Eugene (Mss Sofranac and Saavedra and Dr Woollacott).

Correspondence: Penelope B. Butler, PhD, MCSP, The Movement Centre, Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 7AG, United Kingdom (

Grant Support: This research was funded by (1) National Institutes of Health grant 2R01 NS038714 (M.H.W., PI), (2) National Institutes of Health National Research Services Award F31NS056726 (S.S.), and (3) The Movement Foundation (Charity Registration No. 1075549) (P.B.B. and S.E.J.).

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.