Table 1

Qualitative definition of WHO-DAS II subscales and ICF disability levels

WHO-DAS II Subscales

Definition a


UAC (6, 0.81) b

Difficulty concentrating on something for more than 10 min and learning new tasks.

GAR (5, 0.88)

Difficulty standing for long periods, moving around the house and getting out of the house.

SCA (4, 0.71)

Difficulty in bathing, getting dressed, feeding and being independent while being alone.

GAP (5, 0.77)

Difficulty in social activities such as starting and maintaining a conversation, dealing with unknown people and maintaining or making new friends.

LAC (4. 0.96)

Difficulty in performing instrumental activities quickly and effectively, particularly household duties.

PSO (8, 0.95)

Difficulty joining community activities such as festivities or religious. Lack of self-confidence due to health problems.

Summary Index (32, 0.93)

Average score across the six domains.


ICF Disability levels

Definition c


No problem (0-4%)

No problem as measured by standardised instruments (5% error allowed).

Mild disability (5-24%)

Problem that expands up to a fourth of the time or, alternatively, the first fourth of the score range of a standardised instrument on self-reported difficulty for an activity/participation.

Moderate disability (25-49%)

Problem that expands up to a half of the time or, alternatively, half of the score range of a standardised instrument on self-reported difficulty for an activity/participation.

Severe disability (50-95%)

Problem that expands up to 95% of the time or, alternatively, a score on a standardised instrument on self-reported difficulty for an activity/participation up to 95% of the score range.

Extreme disability (96-100%)

Complete problem as measured by standardised instruments; 5% error allowed.


UAC = Understanding and communication; GAP = Getting along with people; LAC = Life activities; GAR = Getting around; PSO = Participation in society; SCA = Self-care. Activity = execution of a task or action by an individual; Participation = involvement in a life situation; Problem: self-reported difficulty/number of days with disability over the last month in the actual performance or the abstract capacity (no environmental aids) complete an activity.

aAccording to Vázquez-Barquero et al. 2006, p. 88. bNumber of items, Cronbach's α. cAccording to WHO, 2001, p. 134.

Virués-Ortega et al. BMC Public Health 2011 11:176   doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-176

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