A reliability study was conducted to determine (a) the intrarater and interrater reliability of goniometric measurement of active and passive wrist motions under clinical conditions and (b) the effect of a therapist’s specialization on the reliability of measurement. Randomly paired therapists performed repeated measurements of active and passive wrist motions in 48 subjects who had been referred to one of four occupational therapy or hand management clinics for evaluation and treatment. The data were analyzed with an intraclass correlation coefficient. A posteriori data analyses were performed to determine the effects of identified sources of error on the reliability of measurement.
The results indicated that measurement of wrist motion by individual therapists is highly reliable and that intrarater reliability is higher than interrater reliability for all active and passive motions. Interrater reliability was generally higher among specialized therapists for reasons not immediately apparent from this study. With the exception of pain, identified sources of error were found to have surprisingly little effect on the reliability of measurement.