Inter-rater reliability of the body alignment systematic observation form in college students

Alfonso-Peñaloza, Y. and Cepeda-López, J. and Navarro-Valencia, M. and Tirado-Todaro, A. and Quintero-Moya, S. and Ramírez, P. and Angarita, A.
Fisioterapia, 35(4): 154-166, 2013

Spanish Title: Reproducibilidad interevaluador del Formato de Observación Sistemática de la Alineación Corporal en estudiantes universitarios


Objective: To estimate the inter-rater reliability of the Body Alignment Systematic Observation Form (BASOF) applied to young adults in a private university in Bucaramanga (Colombia).
Methodology: A study of diagnostic tests was performed in a sample of 123 college students, aged 18 to 29, who met the inclusion criteria. Three examiners (an expert in posture, a physiotherapist with experience and a last semester student of physiotherapy) performed the postural examination, analyzing 7 printed photographs: one posterior, two right laterals, two left laterals and two anterior. We studied 63 deficiencies, which were registered in the BASOF.
The inter-rater reliability to determine postural deficiencies ranged from poor to acceptable. The level obtaining the best reliability according to the global Kappa index was the posterior one in which 26.5% of the deficiencies obtained a kappa index greater than 0.40. Scoliosis in S variable had the highest reliability with a kappa value of 1.00, obtained on the item expert vs student on the posterior plane.
The low inter-rater reliability leads to the conclusion that postural examination by direct observation method is not suitable for use in research. However, it allows the practitioner to detect marked postural deficiencies and therefore should not be excluded from the physiotherapy examination. Moreover, the BASOF can become a useful tool in the future academic career in physical therapy to establish methodically the process of observing body alignment.

Keywords: Posture, Young adult, Observation