INTRODUCTION: The purpose of this study was to assess test-retest reliability of the Pieterse return to flight duty protocol for cabin crew to return to flight duties.
METHOD: Flight attendants between 20–50 yr old were included if they underwent rehabilitation at the musculoskeletal rehabilitation unit for a musculoskeletal injury, surgical treatment for orthopedic trauma or industrial injuries, and were assessed by the treating physical therapist and aviation medical examiner to be ready for return to work. Test-retest reliability was calculated with the Fleiss kappa coefficient.
RESULTS: Included were 18 flight attendants (10 men, 34.9 ± 6.3 yr; 8 women, 34.2 ± 3.4 yr). Eight participants were rehabilitated following upper extremity injury, eight following lower extremity, and two following both upper and lower extremity injury. Perfect test-retest reliability was observed for nine items; kappa values above 0.9 were observed for three items; one item had a kappa value above 0.8 and two items had a kappa value of 0.78. The results for all 15 items were highly significant, demonstrating that the Fleiss kappa coefficients were significantly different from zero. The kappa coefficient strength of agreement was almost perfect for 13 and substantial for the remaining 3 items. Overall test-retest reliability was 0.95.
DISCUSSION: This study demonstrated almost perfect test-retest reliability for 13 items and substantial reliability for two items, with an overall test-retest reliability of 0.95 for a return to flight assessment for flight attendants. The Pieterse protocol is a reliable tool to establish return to work for cabin crew.