Background: The Fremantle Back Awareness Questionnaire (FreBAQ) claims to assess disrupted self-perception of the back. The aim of this study was to develop a German version of the Fre-BAQ (FreBAQ-G) and assess its test-retest reliability, its known-groups validity and its convergent validity with another purported measure of back perception.

Methods: The FreBaQ-G was translated following international guidelines for the transcultural adaptation of questionnaires. Thirty-five patients with non-specific CLBP and 48 healthy participants were recruited. Assessor one administered the FreBAQ-G to each patient with CLBP on two separate days to quantify intra-observer reliability. Assessor two administered the FreBaQ-G to each patient on day 1. The scores were compared to those obtained by assessor one on day 1 to assess inter-observer reliability. Known-groups validity was quantified by comparing the FreBAQ-G score between patients and healthy controls. To assess convergent validity, patient's FreBAQ-G scores were correlated to their two-point discrimination (TPD) scores.

Results: Intra- and Inter-observer reliability were both moderate with ICC3.1 = 0.88 (95%CI: 0.77 to 0.94) and 0.89 (95%CI: 0.79 to 0.94), respectively. Intra- and inter-observer limits of agreement (LoA) were 6.2 (95%CI: 5.0±8.1) and 6.0 (4.8±7.8), respectively. The adjusted mean difference between patients and controls was 5.4 (95%CI: 3.0 to 7.8, p<0.01). Patient's FreBAQ-G scores were not associated with TPD thresholds (Pearson's r = -0.05, p = 0.79).

Conclusions: The FreBAQ-G demonstrated a degree of reliability and known-groups validity. Interpretation of patient level data should be performed with caution because the LoA were substantial. It did not demonstrate convergent validity against TPD. Floor effects of some items of the FreBAQ-G may have influenced the validity and reliability results. The clinimetric properties of the FreBAQ-G require further investigation as a simple measure of disrupted self-perception of the back before firm recommendations on its use can be made.


systematic reviews, research validity, sensory perception, lower back pain, pain sensation, comparators, pregnancy

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