Date Presented 04/20/2023

This study examined the relationship between proprioception and motor performance, and the results showed a significant correlation between the two. Insights gained from this study will contribute to knowledge of proprioception during development.

Primary Author and Speaker: Virginia W. Chu

Additional Authors and Speakers: Mahira Ali

Contributing Authors: Sheena Davis, Nouran Hussein Amin

Proprioception is the awareness of our body in space. Researchers and clinicians have proposed that deficits in proprioception may present as difficulties in motor coordination, postural control, and handwriting. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between proprioception and motor performance. This observational study recruited 31 children (4-5yo: n=12, 6-8yo: n=9, 9-12yo: n=10) and 12 adults (18-50yo) from the community. Participants completed tasks that assess proprioception: passive and active spatial movement sense (PSMS, ASMS); joint position sense (JPS); and end-point position sense (EPS). With eyes closed, participants held onto a robotic arm while it simulated drawing a shape (PSMS) or created a path to explore (ASMS). Participants selected the shape they perceived from 4 choices. JPS tested the ability to match one elbow position to the other, vision occluded. EPS assessed the ability to match one index fingertip position to the other, vision occluded. Motor performance was assessed using the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency II (BOT-II) short-form. Parents of child participants completed the Sensory Processing Measure (SPM). One-way ANOVA was used to examine differences in the spatial measures (PSMS, ASMS, JPS, EPS) with age. Linear correlations were used to examine the relationship between the spatial measures (PSMS, ASMS, JPS, EPS), BOT-II and SPM. There were significant differences between age groups for PSMS (p<.001), ASMS (p<.001), and EPS (p=.019), but not for JPS (p=.187). BOT-II significantly correlated with PSMS (p<.001), ASMS (p<.001), EPS (p<.001), and JPS (p=.047). The SPM did not correlate with spatial measures. We saw a strong relationship between the BOT and our spatial measures, supporting the hypothesis of a relationship between proprioception and motor proficiency. Our assessments can be developed for clinical use, allowing OTs to better target proprioceptive deficits to promote occupational engagement.


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