Quality of Life Concepts

Secondary Health Conditions

Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM)

Description: A standardized measure of self-perception of occupational performance [1].  

Format:  The COPM is an individualized measure that is administered via semi-structured interview. This measure is used to help respondents identify areas of difficulty in self-care, productivity, and leisure. Following identification of up to 5 problem areas, respondents rate each on a scale from 1 (least important) to 10 (most important). Respondents also rate their current level of performance and satisfaction with their performance in each of the 5 areas on a scale from 1 (with great difficulty or not satisfied) to 10 (with no difficulties or completely satisfied). On re-assessment, respondents review their goals and again rate their performance and satisfaction on the goals identified in the initial assessment.

Scoring: Mean scores are obtained for satisfaction and performance with scores ranging from 1 to 10. A change score is obtained by subtracting the post-treatment score from the initial score. The most meaningful scores derived from this assessment are the change scores between assessment and reassessment.

Administration and Burden: Interviewer-administered.

Psychometrics for SCI: Not available.

Languages: The COPM has been used in more than 35 countries and has been translated into over 20 languages.

QoL Concept: The COPM is a measure of Instrumental Activities of Daily Living, which corresponds to Boxes C (achievements) and D (individual expectations and priorities; impact on activities), and E (subjective evaluations and reactions) of Dijker’s Model.

Permissions/Where to Obtain: Copyrighted; The COPM can be purchased from the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists website at: www.caot.ca.


  1. Law M, Baptiste S, Carswell-Opzoomer A, McColl MA, Polatajko H, Pollock N. Canadian Occupational Performance Measure. 1991. Toronto, ON: CAOT Publications ACE.


Pain SCI Studies: One cross-sectional survey.

  1. Samuelsson KAM, Tropp H, Gerdle B. Shoulder pain and its consequences in paraplegic spinal cord-injured wheelchair users. Spinal Cord 2004;42:41-6.

Sensitivity to Impact: Samuelsson and colleagues (2004) used the Wheelchair User's Shoulder Pain Index (WUSPI), the Constant Murley Scale (CMS), the Klein & Bell ADL Index, and the COPM to describe the consequences of shoulder pain on activity and participation in persons with paraplegia (N = 56). On the COPM, 13 individuals with shoulder pain identified 52 problems including self-care activities (54%), such as propelling the wheelchair outdoors, transfers and driving, and 12 problems related to productivity (23%) such as cleaning and cooking, and 12 problems related to leisure activities (23%), such as fishing, gardening, training and social relations.

Interestingly, no correlations were detected among the measures, which the authors interpreted as meaning that most persons with paraplegia and shoulder pain managed their daily activities despite the pain.  As well, the authors acknowledged that the Klein & Bell ADL Index may be insensitive to the impact of shoulder pain since the scale consists of items that persons can perform regardless of pain, and the WUSPI “defines the pain experienced during pre-defined activities or tasks without reflecting the actual grade of activity performance”.  They concluded that the COPM may be more sensitive since it reflects problems considered important to the individual.  

Suggestions for Use: The COPM appears sensitive to the impact of shoulder pain in SCI but further work is required to establish its psychometric properties for the SCI population.

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