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Rehabilitation Measures Database

Spinal Cord Injury - Quality of Life Self-care [Spinal Cord Injury – Functional Index]

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The SCI-QOL Self-care instrument assesses ability to conduct self-care activities in individuals with spinal cord injury.

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Instrument Details

Acronym SCI-QOL Self-care [SCI-FI]

Area of Assessment

Activities of Daily Living
General Health
Quality of Life

Assessment Type

Patient Reported Outcomes

Administration Mode




Cost Description

Paper copies of short forms are available. PDFs can be requested through emails to and

Electronic versions can be found in the NIH Toolbox or the PROMIS app. Either app is $500/yr, and covers up to 10 iPads on a single license. The SCI-QOL and TBI-QOL CATs can be administered directly through these apps. It is important to note that using the app requires you to be physically with the participant or read the questions aloud by interview over the phone - there is no way to send a link to have someone complete the measures at home.

Free electronic versions are available. If your institution has REDCap, the CATs and short forms can be accessed through the REDCap instrument library by searching for the specific measure you want and adding them to your REDCap project. For non-REDCap alternatives, the SCI-QOL and TBI-QOL short forms can be imported into an alternative electronic administration platform such as Qualtrics, SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, etc. Email or to request PDF versions.


  • Spinal Cord Injury


Key Descriptions

  • The SCI-QOL Self-care measure is an item response theory (IRT)-calibrated item bank with 71 items that is available for administration as a computer adaptive test (CAT; range 4-12 items) or 11 item short form (SF).

Number of Items


Short: 11

CAT: 4-12

Equipment Required

  • The short form requires the form and a pencil.

Time to Administer

Less than 5 minutes

Required Training

Reading an Article/Manual

Age Ranges


18 - 64


Elderly Adults

65 +


Instrument Reviewers

Review completed by Kelsey Stipp, M.S. and Kristian Nitsch, M.S.

ICF Domain

Body Function

Measurement Domain

General Health


Do you see an error or have a suggestion for this instrument summary? Please e-mail us!

Spinal Injuries

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Standard Error of Measurement (SEM)

Depends on mode of administration and injury type:

  • Full Item Bank for Tetraplegia: SEM= 1.61
  • Full Item Bank for Paraplegia: SEM= 1.14

Minimal Detectable Change (MDC)

Calculated from SEM:

  • Full Item Bank for Tetraplegia: MDC= 4.47
  • Full Item Bank for Paraplegia: MDC= 3.17

Cut-Off Scores

  • ≤32: No self-care activities
  • 33-43: Eating and some basic dressing and bathing activities
  • 44-51: Most basic dressing and bathing activities
  • 52-60: Most self-care activities
  • ≥61: All self-care activities

Sinha et al. (2015)

Normative Data

Traumatic SCI: The normative data are calibrated on adults with traumatic spinal cord injury. The mean score (T = 50) indicates a score that is normal for an adult with a traumatic SCI. (Jette et al., 2015; n = 460, mean age = 43.1 years (14.8); time post injury = 6.8 years (8.9); 46.5% paraplegia, 53.5% tetraplegia)

Test/Retest Reliability

Traumatic SCI: (Jette et al., 2015; n = 460)

  • Excellent: (ICC = 0.98 for tetraplegia; ICC = 0.97 for paraplegia)

Criterion Validity (Predictive/Concurrent)

Traumatic SCI: (Sinha et al., 2015; n = 269; mean age = 43.8 years (15.5); time post injury = 6.8 (8.7); 46.5% paraplegia; 52.4% tetraplegia)

Adequate concurrent validity with:

  • Functional Index Measure: ρ = 0.665

Floor/Ceiling Effects

Traumatic SCI: (Jette et al., 2015)



  • Floor Effect: Adequate (1.6%)
  • Ceiling Effect: Excellent (1.6%)


  • Floor Effect: Excellent (0%)
  • Ceiling Effect: Excellent (15%)


Jette, A. M., Slavin, M. D., Ni, P., Kisala, P. A., Tulsky, D. S., Heinemann, A. W., Charlifue, S., Tate, D. G., Fyffe, D., Morse, L., Marino, M., Smith, I., & Williams, S. (2015) Development and initial evaluation of the SCI-FI/AT. Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, 38(3), 409-418 Find it on PubMed

Sinha, R., Slavin, M. D., Kisala, P. A., Ni, P., Tulsky, D. S., & Jette, A. M. (2015) Functional ability level development and validation: Providing clinical meaning for spinal cord injury functional index scores. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 96, 1448-57 Find it on PubMed