Evaluation of the Walking Index for Spinal Cord Injury II (WISCI-II) in children with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

C. Calhoun Thielen, Cristina Lavinia Sadowsky, L. C. Vogel, H. Taylor, L. Davidson, J. Bultman, J. Gaughan, M. J. Mulcahey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Study Design:Mixed methods were used in this study. The appropriateness of the levels of the Walking Index for Spinal Cord Injury II (WISCI-II) for application in children was critically reviewed by physical therapists using the Modified Delphi Technique, and the inter- and intra-rater reliability of the WISCI-II in children was evaluated.Objectives:To examine the construct validity, and to establish reliability of the WISCI-II related to its use in children with spinal cord injury (SCI).Setting:United States of America.Methods:Using a Modified Delphi Technique, physical therapists critically reviewed the WISCI-II levels for pediatric utilization. Concurrently, ambulatory children under age 18 years with SCI were evaluated using the WISCI-II on two occasions by the same therapist to establish intra-rater reliability. One trial was photographed and de-identified. Each photograph was reviewed by four different physical therapists who gave WISCI-II scores to establish inter-rater reliability. Summary and descriptive statistics were used to calculate the frequency of yes/no responses for each WISCI-II level question and to determine the percent agreement for each question. Inter- and intra-rater reliability was calculated using interclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) with 95% confidence intervals (CI).Results:Construct validity was confirmed after one Delphi round during which at least 80% agreement was established by 51 physical therapists on the appropriateness of the WISCI-II levels for children. Fifty-two children with SCI aged 2–17 years completed repeated WISCI-II assessments and 40 de-identified photographs were scored by four physical therapists. Intra- and inter-rater reliability was high (ICC=0.997, CI=0.995–0.998 and ICC=0.97, CI=0.95–0.98, respectively).Conclusion:This study demonstrates support for the use of the WISCI-II in ambulatory children with SCI.Sponsorship:This study was funded by the Craig H Neilsen Foundation, Spinal Cord Injury Research on the Translation Spectrum, Senior Research Award #282592 (Mulcahey, PI).Spinal Cord advance online publication, 18 October 2016; doi:10.1038/sc.2016.142.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSpinal Cord
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Oct 18 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

Cite this

Calhoun Thielen, C., Sadowsky, C. L., Vogel, L. C., Taylor, H., Davidson, L., Bultman, J., ... Mulcahey, M. J. (Accepted/In press). Evaluation of the Walking Index for Spinal Cord Injury II (WISCI-II) in children with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI). Spinal Cord. https://doi.org/10.1038/sc.2016.142