Research Article  |   September 2014
Validity of Sensory Systems as Distinct Constructs
Author Affiliations
  • Chia-Ting Su, PhD, OTR, is Associate Professor, Fu Jen Catholic University, College of Medicine, Department of Occupational Therapy, New Taipei City, Taiwan
  • L. Diane Parham, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Professor, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Occupational Therapy Graduate Program, MSC09 5240, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001; DiParham@salud.unm.edu
Article Information
Sensory Integration and Processing / Special Issue: Sensory Integration Measurement
Research Article   |   September 2014
Validity of Sensory Systems as Distinct Constructs
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2014, Vol. 68, 546-554. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.012518
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2014, Vol. 68, 546-554. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.012518
Abstract

This study investigated the validity of sensory systems as distinct measurable constructs as part of a larger project examining Ayres’s theory of sensory integration. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted to test whether sensory questionnaire items represent distinct sensory system constructs. Data were obtained from clinical records of two age groups, 2- to 5-yr-olds (n = 231) and 6- to 10-yr-olds (n = 223). With each group, we tested several CFA models for goodness of fit with the data. The accepted model was identical for each group and indicated that tactile, vestibular–proprioceptive, visual, and auditory systems form distinct, valid factors that are not age dependent. In contrast, alternative models that grouped items according to sensory processing problems (e.g., over- or underresponsiveness within or across sensory systems) did not yield valid factors. Results indicate that distinct sensory system constructs can be measured validly using questionnaire data.