Disability Terms/Concepts & Rehab Research Terminology

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Biomechanics & Movement Science
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Disability Terms/Concepts & Rehab Research Terminology
Prosthetic-Orthotic-Assistive Techn Terms


Contains Tables O & P


O. Disability Terminology

Activities of daily living (ADL); DLS (Daily Living Skills)

Basic activities of daily living. Routine activities carried out for personal hygiene and health such as  eating, dressing, grooming, shaving, etc. Sometimes called DLS or daily living skills.  


Loss of ability. In the case of a stroke, a loss of neurological function. 


Determining the exact nature of a specific disease. 


Reduced ability or lack of ability of an individual to perform an activity in daily life.  A loss, absence or impairment of physical or mental fitness that can be seen or measured.  


 All of the things mental and physical that affect a person's life and survival.  

Functional limitation

Reduced ability or lack of ability to perform an action or activity in the manner or within the range considered to be normal. 


A disadvantage resulting from an impairment or disability that limits or prevents fulfillment of a role that is normal for the affected individual. 


The loss or abnormality of physical or psychological capacities. 


Able to perform all usual functions without assistance or supervision. 

Instrumental activities of daily living (IADL)

Complex activities required for independent living, such as using a telephone, home management, cooking, use of public transportation, or financial management. 


Repetitive checking of a patient's medical, neurological, and functional status. 


Causing disease or disorder.


The interruption of, or interference with, normal bodily processes or structures by a disease process. 


Restoration of the disabled person to self-sufficiency or maximal possible functional independence. 


Examinations aimed at detecting medical conditions early in their course or before they become symptomatic, often with the purpose of implementing treatment that will prevent or ameliorate the problem. 


P. Rehabilitation Research Terms


 An evaluation of a patient based on the following information:   1. The subjective report of the symptoms by the patient.  2. The progress of the illness or condition. 3. The objective findings of the examiner based on tests, physical examination and medical history.  

Control group

A group of subjects in a research study to which results of an experimental treatment given to another group of subjects are compared. 


The study of factors that influence the frequency and distribution of a disease in a population. 

Experimental group

The group of subjects in a research study which receives the experimental treatment. 

Experimental study

A study in which one treatment is compared to another. 


 A person who has a congenital or acquired mental or physical defect that interferes with normal functioning of the body, or the ability to be self sufficient in modern society.  


A deficiency that interferes with normal activity.  


The frequency of occurrence of new cases of a disease over a specified period of time. 

Informed Consent 

A  patient's right to know the risks and benefits of a medical procedure. 


A technique for combining the results of several studies for the purpose of determining the net effects of related factors or treatments on a process or disease. 

Multivariate analysis

A set of statistical techniques for analyzing the individual and joint effects of a number of factors on the outcomes of the process or disease being studied. 

Observational study

A study that draws conclusions on the effects of factors or treatments by observing a group of subjects over a period of time. 

Prospective study

A study that depends on data collected prospectively from the time the study begins. 

Psychometric Instrument 

Standardized tests (utilizing paper and pencil) which measure mental functioning.  

Randomized controlled trial (RCT)

A study in which subjects are assigned to the experimental or control group by a random selection procedure before data collection begins. 

Reliability, interobserver

A characteristic of assessment procedures or instruments that refers to the ability of different observers to obtain the same results in the same patient, provided that there has been no change in the patient's condition. 

Reliability, test- retest

A characteristic of assessment procedures or instruments that refers to the ability to obtain the same result at different points in time in a patient whose condition remains unchanged. 

Retrospective study

A study that depends on data collected earlier, usually for purposes unrelated to the study. 

Risk factor

A characteristic of the individual or environment that predisposes to the condition or disease of interest.


The characteristics of an assessment procedure or instrument that refer to its reasonableness, importance, and ease of use. 


The ability of an assessment procedure or instrument to detect clinically meaningful change. 


Copyright by Jack Winters.
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Last updated: February 20, 2001.