OBJECTIVE: To establish normative values for a functional capacity evaluation (FCE) of healthy working subjects.

DESIGN: Descriptive.

SETTING: Rehabilitation center.

PARTICIPANTS: Healthy working subjects (N=701; 448 men, 253 women) between 20 and 60 years of age, working in more than 180 occupations.

INTERVENTIONS: Subjects performed a 2-hour FCE consisting of 12 work-related tests. Subjects were classified into categories based on physical demands according to the Dictionary of Occupational Titles.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Means, ranges, SDs, and percentiles were provided for normative values of FCE, and a regression analysis for outcome of the 12 tests was performed.

RESULTS: Normative FCE values were established for 4 physical demand categories.

CONCLUSIONS: The normative values enable comparison of patients' performances to these values. If a patient's performance exceeds the lowest scores in his/her corresponding demand category, then the patient's capacity is very likely to be sufficient to meet the workload. Further, clinicians can make more precise return-to-work recommendations and set goals for rehabilitation programs. A comparison of the normative values can be useful to the fields of rehabilitation, occupational, and insurance medicine. Further research is needed to test the validity of the normative values with respect to workplace assessments and return-to-work recommendations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1785-1794
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


  • adults
  • disability evaluation
  • hand strength
  • health status
  • mental health
  • middle aged
  • oxygen consumption
  • postural balance
  • rehabilitation centers


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