Content » Vol 47, Issue 7

Original report

Development and cognitive testing of the Nottwil Environmental Factors Inventory in Canada, Switzerland, and the USA

Sibylle Juvalta , Marcel W.M. Post, Susan Charlifue, Luc Noreau, Gale Whiteneck, Frédéric S. Dumont, Jan D. Reinhardt
Department of Health Professions, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Winterthur, Switzerland
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1982


Objective: To develop and pre-test the Nottwil Environmental Factors Inventory (NEFI), a questionnaire assessing the perceived impact of environmental factors on specific areas of participation (productive life, social life, and community life) experienced by people with spinal cord injury.
Subjects/patients: Thirty-seven participants with spinal cord injury in Canada, Switzerland and the USA.
Methods: A first draft of the NEFI was developed based on a new theoretical model, the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) Core Sets for spinal cord injury, and expert consultation. Three rounds of cognitive testing were conducted to examine participants’ comprehension of the conceptual framework and items, to identify challenges in cross-cultural measurement, and iteratively to refine the questionnaire.
Results: Participants were able to differentiate well between environmental factors influencing productive life and those influencing social life or community life, but not between environmental factors influencing social life and community life. Items intended to capture avoidance of participation due to barriers or overcoming of obstacles were generally well understood.
Conclusion: For people with spinal cord injury, the NEFI may help to identify limiting and helpful environmental factors, while considering avoiding and overcoming behaviours. Quantitative validation and exploration of the possible use of the NEFI in other diagnostic groups is recommended.

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