Purpose: To evaluate validity and reliability of the upper extremity work demands (UEWD) scale.
Methods: Participants from different levels of physical work demands, based on the Dictionary of Occupational Titles categories, were included. A historical database of 74 workers was added for factor analysis. Criterion validity was evaluated by comparing observed and self-reported UEWD scores. To assess structural validity, a factor analysis was executed. For reliability, the difference between two self-reported UEWD scores, the smallest detectable change (SDC), test-retest reliability and internal consistency were determined.
Results: Fifty-four participants were observed at work and 51 of them filled in the UEWD twice with a mean interval of 16.6 days (SD 3.3, range = 10-25 days). Criterion validity of the UEWD scale was moderate (r = .44, p = .001). Factor analysis revealed that 'force and posture' and 'repetition' subscales could be distinguished with Cronbach's alpha of .79 and .84, respectively. Reliability was good; there was no significant difference between repeated measurements. An SDC of 5.0 was found. Test-retest reliability was good (intraclass correlation coefficient for agreement = .84) and all item-total correlations were >.30. There were two pairs of highly related items.
Conclusion: Reliability of the UEWD scale was good, but criterion validity was moderate. Based on current results, a modified UEWD scale (2 items removed, 1 item reworded, divided into 2 subscales) was proposed. Since observation appeared to be an inappropriate gold standard, we advise to investigate other types of validity, such as construct validity, in further research.