Abilities: “Enduring attributes of the individual that influence performance” (O*NET, 2019a).
Activities: Actions or tasks performed by an individual, such as walking, lifting, keyboarding, or problem solving.
Activities of daily living: Basic tasks of daily life that typically include personal care and hygiene, dressing, feeding, continence management, and mobility.
(1) Occupational Requirements Survey definition: “‘Adaptability’ measures characteristics of an occupation that cause a worker to adjust to changes in work routines,” including work tasks, work schedule, and work location (DOL, 2017, p. 61).
(2) O*NET definition: “Adaptability/Flexibility— job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace” (O*NET, 2019b).
(3) U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) definition: Adapt or manage oneself—“This area of mental functioning refers to the abilities to regulate emotions, control behavior, and maintain well-being in a work setting. Examples include: responding to demands; adapting to changes; managing your psychologically based symptoms; distinguishing between acceptable and unacceptable work performance; setting realistic goals; making plans for yourself independently of others; maintaining personal hygiene and
attire appropriate to a work setting; and being aware of normal hazards and taking appropriate precautions” (Mental Disorders Listings Paragraph B Criteria, Paragraph B4 [SSA, n.d.-b]).
Body functions: “The physiological functions of body systems, including psychological functions. ‘Body’ refers to the human organism as a whole, and thus includes the brain. Hence, mental (or psychological) functions are subsumed under body functions. The standard for these functions is considered to be the statistical norm for humans” (WHO, 2001, p. 213).
Body structures: “The structural or anatomical parts of the body such as organs, limbs and their components classified according to body systems. The standard for these structures is considered to be the statistical norm for humans” (WHO, 2001, p. 213).
Capability: “The quality or state of being capable”; see also “Abilities” (Merriam-Webster, 2019a).
Capacity: “An individual’s ability to execute a task or an action” (WHO, 2001, p. 123).
Cognitive test: “Standardized measure of task performance used to assess cognitive functioning (e.g., intellectual capacity, attention and concentration, processing speed, language and communication, visual-spatial abilities, memory)” (IOM, 2015, p. 223).
(1) International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) definition: “An umbrella term for impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions. It denotes the negative aspects of the interaction between an individual (with a health condition) and that individual’s contextual factors (environmental and personal factors)” (WHO, 2001, p. 213). (2) SSA definition: In adults, “the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity … by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months” (SSA, n.d-a).
Executive function: “How well a person can plan, prioritize, organize, sequence, initiate, and execute multi-step procedures” (OIDAP, 2009, p. C-22).
Functional limitation: “A loss or restriction of an individual’s ability to perform a specific physical or mental function or activity, such as walking, speaking, memory, and the like” (IOM, 2015, p. 224).
Functional severity: “The impact of [a] disorder on an individual’s ability to perform age-appropriate activities, irrespective of illness type and under a broad range of circumstances.… Functional severity reflects the effect of a condition on a final common pathway—ability to conduct daily life” (Stein et al., 1987).
Functioning: “An umbrella term encompassing all body functions, activities, and participation” (WHO, 2001, p. 3).
Impairment: “A loss or abnormality in body structure or physiological function (including mental functions). Abnormality here is used strictly to refer to a significant variation from established statistical norms (i.e., as a deviation from a population mean within measured standard norms) and should be used only in this sense” (WHO, 2001, p. 213).
Instrumental activities of daily living: Tasks that are considered to be more complex than “activities of daily living” and relate to independent living in the community, such as navigating transportation options and shopping, preparing meals, managing one’s household, managing finances and medications, communicating with others, and providing companionship and mental support.
Medically determinable impairment: “A medically determinable physical or mental impairment is an impairment that results from anatomical, physiological, or psychological abnormalities that can be shown by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques. The medical evidence must establish that an individual has a physical or mental impairment; a statement about the individual’s symptoms is not enough” (SSA, n.d.-a).
Neuropsychological tests: Performance-based tests used to measure various aspects of an individual’s cognitive functioning, including “memory, attention, processing speed, reasoning, judgment, and problem-solving, spatial, and language functions” (Harvey, 2012, p. 91).
Noncognitive measure: “Standardized self-report measure that assesses noncognitive psychological complaints” (IOM, 2015, p. 224).
Participation: “A person’s involvement in a life situation. It represents the societal perspective of functioning” (WHO, 2001, p. 213).
Performance: “The execution of an action” (Merriam-Webster, 2019c).
Performance validity test: “Stand-alone or embedded/derived measures used to assess whether an examinee is performing at a level consistent with his/her actual abilities” (IOM, 2015, p. 225; adapted from Larrabee, 2014).
Performance-based measure: Requires that the individual being assessed perform a set of functional tasks so that his or her ability to execute them can be ascertained. Examples of such measures include assessments of gait, balance, and lifting in the physical realm and cognition in the mental realm.
Psychological assessment: “The comprehensive integration of information from a variety of sources—including formal psychological tests, informal tests and surveys, structured clinical interviews, interviews with others, school and/or medical records, and observational data—to make inferences regarding the mental or behavioral characteristics of an individual or to predict behavior” (IOM, 2015, p. 225; adapted from Hubley and Zumbo, 2013, p. 3).
Psychological testing: “The use of formal, standardized procedures for sampling behavior that ensure objective evaluation of the test-taker regardless of who administers the test (Furr and Bacharach, 2013; Hubley and Zumbo, 2013). Major categories of psychological tests include (1) intelligence tests, (2) neuropsychological tests, (3) personality tests, (4) clinical or diagnostic tests (e.g., depression, anxiety), (5) achievement tests, (6) aptitude tests, and (7) occupational or interests tests” (IOM, 2015, p. 225).
Psychometrics: “The scientific study, including the development, interpretation, and evaluation, of psychological tests and measures used to assess variability in behavior and link such variability to psychological phenomena” (IOM, 2015, p. 225; adapted from Furr and Bacharach, 2013, pp. 9–10; Hubley and Zumbo, 2013, p. 3).
Rehabilitation: “The physical restoration of a sick or disabled person by therapeutic measures and reeducation to participation in the activities of a normal life within the limitations of the person’s physical disability”; “the process of restoring an individual to a useful and constructive place in
society especially through some form of vocational, correctional, or therapeutic retraining” (Merriam-Webster, 2019b).
Reliability: “The consistency of scores across replications of a measurement procedure” (Brennan, 2006, p. 3).
Residual functional capacity: “The most [an applicant] can still do despite [his or her impairment-related] limitations” or restrictions on “a regular and continuing basis,” currently defined as 5 days per week, 8 hours per day, or an equivalent work schedule (20 CFR 404.1545; 20 CFR 416.945; SSA, 2017).
Response bias: “Misrepresentation of abilities in any neuropsychological domain of ability (memory, sensorimotor, language, etc.) through performance, or self-report regarding performance capabilities” (Heilbronner et al., 2009, p. 1100).
Self-report measure: “Standardized instruments that rely on self-report with population-based normative data that allow the examiner to compare an individual’s reported behaviors or symptoms with an appropriate comparison group” (IOM, 2015, p. 225).
Self-report of symptoms: An individual’s “own description of [his or her] physical or mental impairment” (20 CFR § 404.1528).
Sensory processing: “The way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses” (STAR Institute, 2018).
Substantial gainful activity (SGA): “Work that—(a) involves doing significant and productive physical or mental duties; and (b) is done (or intended) for pay or profit” (20 CFR 404.1510). The monthly SGA amount for nonblind individuals in 2019 is $1,220 after deducting impairment-related work expenses (SSA, 2019).
Symptom validity test: “Embedded or stand-alone measures used to assess whether an examinee is providing an accurate report of his or her actual symptom experience on non-cognitive psychological measures (e.g., emotional, behavioral, and personality measures)” (IOM, 2015, p. 226; adapted from Larrabee, 2014).
Task: A set of mental and physical activities in which an individual engages to accomplish a specific goal at or by a specific time.
Validity: “The degree to which evidence and theory support the interpretations of test scores for proposed uses of tests” (AERA et al., 2014, p. 11).
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