Generalizability of the Sensory Organization Test in College-Aged Males: Obtaining a Reliable Performance Measure

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Abstract

Objective:

This study used generalizability theory to (1) determine the reliability of the six Sensory Organization Test (SOT) conditions, and (2) to determine the most effective testing schedule to obtain reliable posture measurements.

Design:

Generalizability theory was used to determine the most effecting testing protocol to obtain reliable assessments of postural sway in various sensory environments.

Participants:

Twenty-five recreationally active college-aged males.

Setting:

University research laboratory.

Interventions:

None.

Main Outcome Measurements:

Postural stability as measured by equilibrium score (a percentage measure indicating amount of sway, with lower scores indicating a greater amount of postural sway). Scores were obtained for each of the six sensory conditions across multiple trials, tests, and days.

Results:

This study showed that performing the SOT twice on a single testing day was sufficient to achieve moderate to good reliability across the six conditions of the SOT. Extending SOT testing to twice on 2 days yielded good to excellent reliability estimates across all SOT conditions.

Conclusions:

Taken together, these results indicate that for the purpose of monitoring changes in the postural control system, an individual needs to experience the full complement of SOT testing conditions at least twice. However, if highly reliable baseline measures of SOT performance are necessary, multiple tests performed on multiple days are warranted.

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