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Sarc-F and muscle function in community dwelling adults with aged care service needs: baseline and post-training relationship.

Keogh, Justin W.L.; Henwood, Tim; Gardiner, Paul A.; Tuckett, Anthony G.; Hetherington, Sharon; Rouse, Kevin; Swinton, Paul


Justin W.L. Keogh

Tim Henwood

Paul A. Gardiner

Anthony G. Tuckett

Sharon Hetherington

Kevin Rouse


Background. This study sought to better understand the psychometric properties of the SARC-F, by examining the baseline and training-related relationships between the five SARC-F items and objective measures of muscle function. Each of the five items of the SARC-F are scored from 0 to 2, with total score of four or more indicative of likely sarcopenia. Methods. This manuscript describes a sub-study of a larger step-wedge, randomised controlled 24-week progressive resistance and balance training (PRBT) program trial for Australian community dwelling older adults accessing government supported aged care. Muscle function was assessed using handgrip strength, isometric knee extension, 5-time repeated chair stand and walking speed over 4 m. Associations within and between SARC-F categories and muscle function were assessed using multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) and multinomial regression, respectively. Results. Significant associations were identified at baseline between SARC-F total score and measures of lower-body muscle function (r = −0.62 to 0.57; p ≤ 0.002) in 245 older adults. MCA analysis indicated the first three dimensions of the SARC-F data explained 48.5% of the cumulative variance. The initial dimension represented overall sarcopenia diagnosis, Dimension 2 the ability to displace the body vertically, and Dimension 3 walking ability and falls status. The majority of the 168 older adults who completed the PRBT program reported no change in their SARC-F diagnosis or individual item scores (56.5–79.2%). However, significant associations were obtained between training-related changes in SARC-F total and item scores and changes in walking speed and chair stand test performance (r = −0.30 to 0.33; p < 0.001 and relative risk ratio = 0.40–2.24; p < 0.05, respectively). MCA analysis of the change score data indicated that the first two dimensions explained 32.2% of the cumulative variance, with these dimensions representing whether a change occurred and the direction of change, respectively. Discussion. The results advance our comprehension of the psychometric properties on the SARC-F, particularly its potential use in assessing changes in muscle function. Older adults’ perception of their baseline and training-related changes in their function, as self-reported by the SARC-F, closely matched objectively measured muscle function tests. This is important as there may be a lack of concordance between self-reported and clinician-measured assessments of older adults’ muscle function. However, the SARC-F has a relative lack of sensitivity to detecting training-related changes, even over a period of 24 weeks. Conclusions. Results of this study may provide clinicians and researchers a greater understanding of how they may use the SARC-F and its potential limitations. Future studies may wish to further examine the SARC-F’s sensitivity of change, perhaps by adding a few additional items or an additional category of performance to each item.


KEOGH, J.W.L., HENWOOD, T., GARDINER, P.A., TUCKETT, A.G., HETHERINGTON, S., ROUSE, K. and SWINTON, P. 2019. Sarc-F and muscle function in community dwelling adults with aged care service needs: baseline and post-training relationship. PeerJ [online], 7, article number e8140. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 1, 2019
Online Publication Date Nov 27, 2019
Publication Date Nov 27, 2019
Deposit Date Nov 4, 2019
Publicly Available Date Nov 4, 2019
Journal PeerJ
Electronic ISSN 2167-8359
Publisher PeerJ
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Article Number e8140
Keywords Aged care; Exercise; Physical performance; Sarcopenia; Screening
Public URL


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