Validity of a pictorial Rate of Perceived Exertion Scale for monitoring exercise intensity in young adults with Down syndrome

Chih Chia Chen, Shannon Ringenbach, Michelle Snow, Lauren M. Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Current studies have indicated that people with Down syndrome (DS) have higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease than their typical peers. The high prevalence of cardiovascular disease is associated with their inactivity. However, it is a challenge to conduct effective exercise programmes because of their poor central executive processing and atypical cerebral specialization which causes a verbal-motor disadvantage. Heart rate (HR) is an index to estimate exercise intensity and Rated of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale has been found to have a high correlation between RPE and HR in typical and special populations. Thus, there is a need to develop an effective RPE scale to monitor exercise performance in people with DS in order to improve their health. This study recruited 19 participants with DS and required them to perform a progressive walking protocol on the treadmill for 24 minutes. A pictorial RPE scale was conducted during the duration of walking. Results indicated significant positive relations between HR and RPE in thirteen participants. Even though the results were variable (R2: 0.01-0.93), it revealed that persons with DS were able to perceive and report a subjective estimation of physical exertion, which was reflective of the change in HR. Thus, this modified RPE scale could be applied in training and educational settings to monitor exercise intensity in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Disabilities
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013


  • Down syndrome
  • Heart rate
  • RPE
  • Treadmill

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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