Open Access Research article

Validity and reproducibility of the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE) questionnaire for the measurement of the physical activity level in patients after total knee arthroplasty

Sylvain Bolszak12*, Nicola C Casartelli23, Franco M Impellizzeri2 and Nicola A Maffiuletti2

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Human Movement Sciences and Sport, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

2 Neuromuscular Research Laboratory, Schulthess Clinic, Zurich, Switzerland

3 INSERM U1093 - Cognition, Action and Sensory Plasticity, University of Burgundy, Dijon, France

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2014, 15:46  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-46

Published: 20 February 2014



The need for valid and reproducible questionnaires to routinely assess the physical activity level of patients after total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is of particular concern in clinical settings. Aims of this study were to evaluate the validity and reproducibility of the physical activity scale for the elderly (PASE) questionnaire in TKA patients, with a particular view on gender differences.


A total of 50 elderly patients (25 women and 25 men aged 70 ± 6 years) following primary unilateral TKA were recruited. The reproducibility was evaluated by administering the PASE questionnaire during two occasions separated by 7 days. The construct (criterion) validity was investigated by comparing the physical activity level reported by patients in the PASE questionnaire to that measured by accelerometry. Reproducibility was evaluated using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC3,1) for reliability and standard error of measurement (SEM) and smallest detectable change (SDC) for agreement, while validity was investigated with Pearson correlation coefficients.


Reliability of the PASE total score was acceptable for men (ICC = 0.77) but not for women (ICC = 0.58). Its agreement was low for both men and women, as witnessed by high SEM (32% and 35%, respectively) and SDC (89% and 97%, respectively). Construct validity of the PASE total score was low in both men (r = 0.45) and women (r = 0.06).


The PASE questionnaire has several validity and reproducibility shortcomings, therefore its use is not recommended for the assessment of physical activity level in patients after TKA, particularly in women.

Physical Activity; Questionnaire; Arthroplasty; Knee