Examining Work-Related Functioning in a Physical Therapy Outpatient Clinic: Validity and Reliability of the Work Rehabilitation Questionnaire (WORQ)

  • Aline Husmann
  • Reuben EscorpizoEmail author
  • Monika E. Finger


Purpose Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are often associated with long-term sick leave, productivity loss, and reduced work functioning. However, measures that assess work-related functioning are sparse. Objective To assess the psychometric properties of the Work Rehabilitation Questionnaire (WORQ)-German version in patients with MSDs in an outpatient physical therapy practice. Methods Psychometric study including patients with MSDs with restricted work participation. Data was collected in a single physical therapy outpatient clinic. For construct validity, we developed a priori hypotheses on the correlation between the functioning part of WORQ (40 items) and other questionnaires with similar concepts. For test–retest reliability, WORQ was administered twice, 7 days apart. We examined internal consistency (Cronbach’s Alpha) and Minimal Detectable Change (MDC). Feasibility of WORQ was examined using feedback from patients and physical therapists. Results There were 51 study participants. Test–retest of WORQ sum score was 0.80 (p < 0.01) (Spearman’s rho). Internal consistency was 0.94 and MDC established at 9.2%. WORQ correlated with general health (r = − 0.49), with HADS (r = 0.55), and with quality of life (WHOQOL) (r = − 0.47). WORQ had the highest correlation with WHODAS 2.0 (r = 0.81). Patients rated WORQ as easy to answer and meaningful to their experience. Conclusions When evaluating self-reported work-related functioning, the WORQ-German version was demonstrated to be a valid, reliable, and easy to administer questionnaire for our sample of patients with MSDs in an outpatient PT clinic.


Work rehabilitation International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health ICF Psychometric properties Validity Reliability 



The authors thank all physical therapists at Loewencenter Lucerne for their help with the data collection and the patient/clients for their participation.

Author contributions

AH, MF, RE—Concept/idea/research design. AH, MF, RE—Writing. AH—Data collection, AH, MF—Data analysis. AH, MF—Project management. RE—Consultation (including review of manuscript before submitting).


This study was supported by the Swiss Paraplegic Research as part of a Master Thesis.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5).

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study. The Ethics Committee EKNZ, Switzerland (Project-ID: 2017-00552) granted full ethical approval of this research study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aline Husmann
    • 1
  • Reuben Escorpizo
    • 2
    Email author
  • Monika E. Finger
    • 3
  1. 1.Praxis LöwencentreLucerneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Rehabilitation and Movement ScienceThe University of VermontBurlingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Participation, Integration and Social EpidemiologySwiss Paraplegic ResearchNottwilSwitzerland

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