Dalhousie Dyspnea and Perceived Exertion Scales: Psychophysical properties in children and adolescents

Paolo T. Pianosi, Marianne Huebner, Zhen Zhang, Patrick J. McGrath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Children and adolescents vary widely in their perception of, or capacity to rate, sensations during exercise using the Borg scale. We sought to measure sensory-perceptual responses obtained using Dalhousie Dyspnea and Perceived Exertion Scales in 79 pediatric subjects during maximal exercise challenge and to determine the psychophysical function relationship(s). Concurrent validity was assessed by canonical plots of mean ratings on either scale, which showed showing very good correlations for perceived leg exertion vs work, and dyspnea vs ventilation. Both scales yielded similar results with respect to goodness of fit regardless of whether data was fitted to a power or quadratic function provided a delay term was included. The quadratic model fixed the exponent of the power law at 2 but, unlike a power model, allowed characterization of individual responses that increased and then plateaued. Dalhousie Dyspnea and Perceived Exertion Scales offer an alternative to Borg scale during exercise in pediatric populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-40
Number of pages7
JournalRespiratory Physiology and Neurobiology
StatePublished - Aug 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this study was provided by the Lung Association of Nova Scotia , and by the Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine Small Grants Program . This publication was made possible by CTSA Grant Number UL1 TR000135 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of NIH.


  • Adolescents
  • Children
  • Dyspnea
  • Exercise
  • Perceived exertion


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