Clinical implications of using the arm motor-ability test in stroke rehabilitation

Michael W. O'Dell, Grace Kim, Lisa Rivera Finnen, Caitlin Polistena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives To identify all published studies using the Arm Motor Ability Test (AMAT), a standardized, laboratory-based measure for selected upper extremity activities of daily living (ADLs); and to summarize its current uses and provide recommendations for its future use. Data Sources An Ovid online search was performed using the terms "Arm Motor Ability Test" and "AMAT." The reference lists of all articles obtained were reviewed for additional studies not appearing in the literature search. In addition, the original manual for the use and administration of the AMAT was reviewed. Study Selection All studies examining the psychometric properties of the AMAT or using the AMAT as an outcome measure were identified. Articles simply mentioning the AMAT without providing data and case reports or abstracts (other than those addressing a specific aspect of the scale of interest) were excluded. Data Extraction Studies were reviewed by the primary author. No formal system of quality review was used. Data Synthesis The AMAT has been used as an outcome measure in stroke rehabilitation research examining upper extremity robotics, functional electrical stimulation, and cortical stimulation. The most recent version contains 10 ADL tasks, each of which is composed of 1 to 3 subtasks. Of the 3 domains originally proposed, only the "functional ability" domain is routinely assessed. Psychometric studies have demonstrated good reliability and at least reasonable construct validity. The instrument's sensitivity to change over time is less well established, and no recommendation can be made regarding a minimal clinically important difference. Conclusions We recommend that the 10-item version of the AMAT and assessment of only the functional ability domain be adopted as standard going forward. Further research should include examination of sensitivity over time, minimal clinically important change, reliability and validity in the mid and lower range of scores, and in neurologic diagnoses other than stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)830-836
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Activities of daily living
  • Hemiplegia
  • Rehabilitation
  • Stroke
  • arm-motor ability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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