• ADAPSS primary scale assesses ‘an individual’s initial evaluation of an event or situation’. Its secondary scale assesses ‘an individual’s evaluation of their own coping resources, the possibility of these resources being adequate, and the likelihood that these resources can be employed effectively’.
  • The scale consists of 6 subscales:
    1) Fearful Despondency
    2) Overwhelming Disbelief
    3) Determined Resolve
    4) Growth and Resilience
    5) Negative Perceptions of Disability
    6) Personal Agency.

Clinical Considerations

  • Appraisals are important psychosocial variables in SCI populations as they have been found to be good predictors of emotional adjustment. The ADAPSS is useful in the clinical setting to better understand the appraisals which are significant for adjustment to SCI and thus to tailor treatment programs for patients.
  • The ADAPSS is a SCI-specific appraisal scale. The questions are straightforward and the scale covers a range of appraisal themes. However, the ADAPSS is still in the early stages of development: its psychometric properties have been evaluated in only one study and it has only been tested in the community-dwelling SCI population.
  • A self-administered format is recommended but an interviewer or proxy could be used in the case of severe physical disability. The assessment seems easy to administer and score.

ICF Domain

Body Function ▶ General Functions


  • patient-reported; self-administered questionnaire.
  • Participants are asked to rate their agreement/disagreement with the statements on a Likert Scale.

Number of Items





The authors do not provide scoring instructions; however it seems that subscale scores are reported (sum the score from each item of a subscale to get the subscale score).



Training Required

Does not require advanced training.


Can be found by contacting the author (Paul Kennedy, paul.kennedy@hmc.ox.ac.uk).

# of studies reporting psychometric properties: 1


  • High scores on the Fearful Despondency, Overwhelming Disbelief, and Negative Perceptions of Disability subscales represent greater agreement with the appraisals; respondents with higher scores on these subscales are more likely to appraise their injury in terms of loss and threat and to perceive their injury as unmanageable.
  • Low scores on the Determined Resolve, Growth and Resilience, and Personal Agency subscales represent greater agreement with the appraisals (though the range of scores is not provided).  Respondents with lower scores on these subscales were more likely to appraise their injury in terms of loss and threat and to perceive their injury as unmanageable.
  • No information is given regarding norms or meaningful cut-off scores for the SCI population, although the ADAPSS is still in early stages of development.

MCID: not established
SEM: not established
MDC: not established


  • Internal consistency is adequate to excellent for the ADAPSS subscales (Personal Agency – Cronbach’s α = 0.70 to Fearful Despondency – Cronbach’s α =  0.85).
  • Test-rest reliability for the ADAPSS subscales is adequate to excellent (Cronbach’s α = 0.74-0.86).

(Dean & Kennedy 2009)


All six ADAPSS subscales were significantly correlated with:

    •  the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale – Anxiety subscale (Spearman’s ρ = 0.187-0.649)
    •  the Needs Assessment Checklist – Perceived Manageability scale (Spearman’s ρ = 0.345-0.599).

(Dean & Kennedy 2009)


No values were reported for the responsiveness of the ADAPSS for the SCI population.

Floor/Ceiling Effect

No values were reported for the presence of floor/ceiling effects in the ADAPSS for the SCI population.


Dr. Vanessa Noonan, Christie Chan

Date Last Updated

1 February 2013

Dean RE, Kennedy P. Measuring Appraisals Following Acquired Spinal Cord Injury: A Preliminary Psychometric Analysis of the Appraisals of Disability. Rehabilitation Psychology 2009;54(2): 222-231.