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Abstract

Background: There is scarce epidemiology of low back pain [LBP] in parents of physically disabled children. Whilst it has been suggested that physical stress related to carer-related duties may be a risk factor for LBP in this parent group, and may explain the reported high prevalence of LBP, no known instrument presently measures this. Subjects and Purpose: Following a review of relevant carer literature, a survey instrument measuring aspects of physical carer demand was designed (Parent-Specific Physical Carer Demand Measure [P-S PCDM]), using existing and new instrument items, and targeted response categories. It was tested for validity and sensitivity on a small number of parents of physically disabled children between the ages of 5 and 12 years. Results: The instrument had face, content and construct validity, as parents believed that it encompassed the range of important physical issues that they dealt with regularly, and that the response categories were sufficiently distinct to distinguish between children with different carer needs. Conclusion: The instrument provides a specific mechanism to measure physical carer burden in young disabled children. Future research using the instrument with larger and more heterogeneous samples is required to test the reliability, validity and sensitivity of the instrument.

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