Validity of the Peabody Developmental Gross Motor Scale as an Evaluative Measure of Infants Receiving Physical Therapy Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine the validity of the Peabody Developmental Gross Motor Scale (PDMS-GM) as an evaluative measure of infants receiving physical therapy. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Infants who attended an early intervention program (N = 124) were grouped by diagnosis: cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, hydrocephalus, preterm with developmental delay, full term with developmental delay, and other. The PDMS-GM was administered to each infant three times over a 6-month period by a therapist who did not provide treatment. RESULTS: Mean scaled scores and age-equivalent scores increased for each group. Individual change was examined using the reliable change index. The results indicated that the change in total raw score for 62% of the infants was greater than what could be attributed to measurement error. When minimal clinically important change was defined as 10 scaled score points, the index of responsiveness was equal to 0.5. This finding indicates that a sample size of 68 subjects per group would be needed when the PDMS-GM is used as an outcome measure in research. CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION: The mean change scores for each group support the use of the PDMS-GM as an evaluative measure. For many infants, particularly infants with cerebral palsy, the PDMS-GM was not responsive to change over a 6-month period. The index of responsiveness suggests that the PDMS-GM should be used only as an outcome measure in large clinical trials. The PDMS-GM is not recommended for evaluating the direct effects of physical therapy but is recommended for providing a global measure of change in motor development as part of a multidimensional assessment.


  • Palisano, Robert
  • Kolobe, Thubi H
  • Haley, Stephen M
  • Pax Lowes, Linda
  • Jones, Sandra L

publication date

  • November 1, 1995