A research team set out to validate a performance test of walking while talking (WWT), a dual-task behavior that required cognitive and motor skills, in older adults with lower-limb amputations.
The test had two sections: WWT-simple (walking while reciting every letter of the alphabet) and WWT-complex (walking while reciting every other letter of the alphabet).
Baseline cross-sectional data was collected from 56 community-living older adults (≥ 50 years old) with lower-limb amputations at rehabilitation hospitals in Vancouver, London, and Edmonton, Canada. The researchers recorded time and number of recited letters and errors during both sections, and developed a new score based on the variables.
Correlations of the recorded times with the Activities-specific Balance Confidence (ABC) scale and the Two-Minute Walk Test (2MWT) score were used to evaluate the validity of the WWT test.
The times for both sections of the WWT were negatively correlated with the ABC and 2MWT scores. Positive correlations were observed between the scores developed for both WWT sections with the 2MWT score. The researchers concluded that the collected evidence supported validity of the WWT test, and the scoring method was more objective and in line with the dual-task nature of the test.
The study, “Walking while talking: validation in older adults with lower-limb amputation,” was published in Prosthetics and Orthotics International.