The Physical Functioning Inventory: A procedure for assessing physical function in adults

Lauren M. Whetstone, James L. Fozard, E. Jeffrey Metter, Barbara S. Hiscock, Ray Burke, Neil Gittings, Linda P. Fried

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The Physical Functioning Inventory, an instrument designed to assess changes in how and how often activities are performed in persons reporting difficulty with a task as well as in those who do not, is described. The measure is designed for adults. Interrater and test-retest reliability were assessed with active participants in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA). Percentage agreement ranged from 63% to 100%. The instrument was also given to 392 inactive BLSA participants as part of a follow-up telephone interview. Fifty-eight percent of the respondents reported no difficulty in performing a task, yet reported a change in how or how often they performed that task. The results indicate that the instrument is reliable and effective in detecting early stages of disability in activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living, and mobility. The instrument is somewhat less reliable for moderate and strenuous physical activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-493
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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