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Research Article  |   October 1989
An Analysis of the Relationship Between Proximal and Distal Motor Control
Author Affiliations
  • Jane Case-Smith, EdD, OTR, is Chief of Occupational Therapy, Nisonger Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. (Mailing address: Room 285 McCampbell Hall, 1581 Dodd Drive, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210)
  • Anne G. Fisher, ScD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Associated Health Professions, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • David Bauer, PhD, is Associate Professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
Article Information
Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Features
Research Article   |   October 1989
An Analysis of the Relationship Between Proximal and Distal Motor Control
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, October 1989, Vol. 43, 657-662. doi:10.5014/ajot.43.10.657
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, October 1989, Vol. 43, 657-662. doi:10.5014/ajot.43.10.657
Abstract

The purpose of this investigation was to test the ontogenetic principle that the development of proximal postural stability precedes, and is necessary for, the development of distal fine motor control. The Posture and Fine Motor Assessment of Infants (Case-Smith, 1987) was used to examine the relationship between proximal and distal motor function in 60 normal infants. Low positive partial correlations were found between components of posture and fine motor control. Although all partial correlations, except those between the head component of postural control and the fine motor scores, were significant, they were not strong enough to support the validity of the proximal–distal principle. They appear instead to reflect a functional rather than an ontogenetic relationship. These findings have implications for treatment and further research.