Functional self-efficacy, perceived gait ability and perceived exertion in walking performance of individuals with low back pain

C. Ellen Lee, Maureen J. Simmonds, Diane M. Novy, Stanley C. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine psychological and perceptual factors that influence walking in individuals with low back pain (LBP). In Study 1 59 subjects with LBP recruited from an orthopedic surgeon participated. Perceived gait ability was measured with the Distorted Ambulation subscale of Pain Behavior Checklist (DAS-PBCL). The psychological factor of functional self-efficacy (FSE) was assessed on the FSE scale. These scales were completed before performing a 50-foot speed walk (50 FT WALK) and a 5-minute distance walk (5 MIN WALK) tests. DAS-PBCL had stronger correlations with walking performance (r= 0.11 to 0.58) than FSE (r= 0.03 to 0.49). DAS-PBCL had a stronger relationship with 50 FT WALK (r= 0.18 to 0.58) than 5 MIN WALK (r= 0.11 to 0.50). In Study 2 48 healthy pain-free subjects and an independent sample of 40 subjects with LBP referred from an orthopedic surgeon participated. They completed the 5 MIN WALK followed by the modified Borg's rating of perceived exertion scale (CR10). Subjects with LBP walked a significantly shorter distance (t = 4.69, p < .005) but perceived a similar amount of exertion (Mann-Whitney U = 861.5, p = .40) compared with those without LBP. Perceived gait ability appears to account for more variability in walking performance than functional self-efficacy of walking in individuals with LBP. Perceived gait ability, in particular, accounted for more variance in walking speed than in walking endurance. Individuals with LBP also experience more exertion during walking than those without LBP. These results suggest that clinicians may need to consider patients' perceptions of gait ability and exertion when assessing walking performance in patients with LBP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-203
Number of pages11
JournalPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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