Mentor: Orit Shechtman, PhD, OTR/L, associate professor, Department of Occupational Therapy
Graduation Date: Fall 2019
Dissertation Title: Establishing Grip Strength Testing Procedures for Children ages 5-15 using the DynEx Dynamometer with the Child’s Handle Adapter
Grip strength, a routine, noninvasive assessment, is widely accepted as an indicator of overall muscle strength and health status in adults. In children, the use of grip strength as a proxy measure has not been widely explored. To study grip strength as a proxy in children, consistent testing procedures and normative data are needed for comparisons. While procedures and normative data are well-established for adults, procedures for children vary widely across normative studies. Many instruments utilized to measure grip strength are not well designed for the size and strength of some children’s hand sizes. Additional factors which may contribute to grip strength performance in children include attention, visual and verbal feedback, motivation, and fatigue.
Previous grip strength data in children may not be accurate as a result of varying procedures, inappropriate instruments, and contributing factors of fatigue, motivation, feedback, and attention. To determine reliable normative data for children, consistent testing procedures are needed. A dynamometer that is appropriate for children’s hand sizes is needed to ensure reliable grip strength outcomes.
The purpose of the study was to establish recommended grip strength testing procedures for children ages 5-15 using the DynEx dynamometer with the child’s handle adapter. The aims of the study were (1) to establish the optimal number of grip repetitions (1, 2, or 3) to utilize in order to maximize the performance of children during grip strength testing (2) to compare the effect of visual feedback versus no visual feedback on grip strength performance (3) to assess the relationship between the handle size, children’s reported levels of effort, fatigue, and comfort with grip strength performance.
Children ages 5-15 were recruited with 10 boys and 10 girls per age group for a total of 220 participants. Two practice trials were given, one with visual feedback and one without. The participants completed three grip repetitions alternating between right and left hands for each of four different handle positions (0.5, 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0) for a total of 12 repetitions per hand. An iPad was used by the participants to complete visual analogue scales (VAS) for effort, fatigue, and comfort.
This study sought to establish recommended grip strength testing procedures for children ages 5-15 using the DynEx dynamometer with the child’s handle adapter. The results of the study will add to the current body of literature in this area and help to inform future research in grip strength testing procedures for children. Lastly, the results will contribute to the continued development and design of the child’s handle adapter for the DynEx dynamometer.
Schneider, M., Myers, C., Morgan-Daniel, J., Shechtman, O. A Scoping Review of the Relationship Between Grasp and Handwriting Performance in School-Age Children, American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2019; 73(4)
Select Honors and Awards
2019 American Occupational Therapy Association Young Scientist Award
2019 Rehabilitation Science Travel Award
2019 Graduate Student Council Travel Grant