Validating the Berg Balance Scale for patients with Parkinson's disease: a key to rehabilitation evaluation

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Activities of Daily Living; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Parkinson Disease; Reproducibility of Results


Behavioral Disciplines and Activities | Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Preventive Medicine


OBJECTIVE: To assess the criterion-related validity of the Berg Balance Scale (BBS) in subjects with Parkinson's disease (PD).

DESIGN: Prospective, correlational analysis between the BBS and accepted measures of PD motor and functional impairment.

SETTING: The federally funded PD research center, an interdisciplinary center of excellence for people with PD within a Veterans Affairs medical center.

PARTICIPANTS: Thirty-eight men (average +/- standard deviation, 71.1+/-10.5 y) with confirmed PD. Their initial diagnosis had been made on average 5.8+/-3.6 years earlier. All could stand or walk unassisted and had mild to moderate disability. Patients who could not ambulate without assistive devices were excluded.

INTERVENTIONS: Not applicable.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Correlational analyses between the BBS and the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) motor scale, Modified Hoehn and Yahr Staging (Hoehn and Yahr) Scale, and the Modified Schwab and England Capacity for Daily Living Scale (SandE ADL Scale).

RESULTS: BBS score showed significant correlations with indicators of motor functioning, stage of disease, and daily living capacity. BBS score was inversely associated with the UPDRS motor score (-.58, P <.005), Hoehn and Yahr Scale staging (-.45, P <.005), and SandE ADL Scale rating (.55, P <.005). In all 3 correlations, lower scores on the BBS (indicating greater balance deficits) correlated with higher UPDRS scores (indicating greater motoric or functional impairment).

CONCLUSIONS: Results support the criterion-related validity of the BBS. Its utility in other balance conditions of older adults has been established. Rehabilitation interventions have been shown to improve the balance deficits associated with PD. Early referral and periodic reassessment is vital to achieving and maintaining improvements. Our research results agree with other published research in suggesting that the BBS may be used as a screening tool and ongoing assessment tool for patients with PD.

DOI of Published Version



Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2005 Apr;86(4):789-92. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation 16271578


At the time of publication, Rashelle Hayes (Rashelle Brown) was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID