Relative and absolute reliability of the clinical version of the Narrow Path Walking Test (NPWT) under single and dual task conditions Academic Article uri icon


  • A B S T R A C T Decline in gait stability has been associated with increased fall risk in older adults. Reliable and clinically feasible methods of gait instability assessment are needed. This study evaluated the relative and absolute reliability and concurrent validity of the testing procedure of the clinical version of the Narrow Path Walking Test (NPWT) under single task (ST) and dual task (DT) conditions. Thirty independent community-dwelling older adults (65–87 years) were tested twice. Participants were instructed to walk within the 6-m narrow path without stepping out. Trial time, number of steps, trial velocity, number of step errors, and number of cognitive task errors were determined. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) were calculated as indices of agreement, and a graphic approach called ‘‘mountain plot’’ was applied to help interpret the direction and magnitude of disagreements between testing procedures. Smallest detectable change and smallest real difference (SRD) were computed to determine clinically relevant improvement at group and individual levels, respectively. Concurrent validity was assessed using Performance Oriented Mobility Assessment Tool (POMA) and the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB). Test–retest agreement (ICC1,2) varied from 0.77 to 0.92 in ST and from 0.78 to 0.92 in DT conditions, with no apparent systematic differences between testing procedures demonstrated by the mountain plot graphs. Smallest detectable change and smallest real change were small for motor task performance and larger for cognitive errors. Significant correlations were observed for trial velocity and trial time with POMA and SPPB. The present results indicate that the NPWT testing procedure is highly reliable and reproducible.

publication date

  • January 1, 2013