The modified gait abnormality rating scale for recognizing the risk of recurrent falls in community-dwelling elderly adults

Jessie M. Vanswearingen, Karen A. Paschal, Paula Bonino, Jeng Feng Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

79 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose. The purpose of this study was to determine the reliability and validity of measurements obtained with it seven-item modified version of the Gait Abnormality Rating Scale (GARS-M), an assessment of gait designed to predict risk of falling among community-dwelling, frail older persons. Subjects. Fifty-two community-dwelling, frail fritter persons, with a mean age of 74.8 years (SD=6.75), participated. Methods. A history of tails was determined from self-report or by proxy report. The GARS-M was scored from videotapes of subjects walking at self-selected paces. Gait characteristics were recorded during a timed walk on a 6-m brown-paper walkway. Results. Scores obtained by three raters for 23 subjects demonstrated moderate to substantial intrarater and interrarer reliability. Concurrent validity, as assessed by Spearman rank-order correlation coefficients, was demonstrated for the relationship between GARS-M scores and stride length (r=-.754) and for the relationship between GARS-M scores and walking speed (r=-.679). Mean GARs-M scores distinguished between frail older persons with and without a history of recurrent falls (mean GARS-M scores of 9.0 and 3.8, respectively). Conclusion and Discussion. The GARS-M is a reliable and valid measure for documenting gait features associated with an increased risk of falling among, community-dwelling, frail older persons and may provide a clinically useful alternative to established quantitative gait- assessment methods. [VanSwearingen JM, Paschal KA, Bonino P, Yang JF. The modified Gait Abnormality Rating Scale for recognizing the risk of recurrent falls in community-dwelling elderly adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)994-1002
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical therapy
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1996


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

Cite this