Professor Paula Kersten

Paula Kersten 2015 photo

Co-Director Centre for Person Centred Research

Phone: +64 9 921 9999 ext9180


Physical Address:

Room AA272, School of Clinical Sciences, AUT North Shore Campus, 90 Akoranga Drive, Northcote 0627, Auckland, New Zealand

Postal Address:
School of Clinical Sciences
Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences
AUT University, Private Bag 92006, Auckland 1142, New Zealand

Links to relevant web pages:
Centre for Person Centred Research


PhD, PGCert Academic Practice, MSc, BSc (Physiotherapy)

Memberships and Affiliations:

UK Health Professions Council

New Zealand Rehabilitation Association


I qualified as a physiotherapist in the Netherlands in 1988 and have since worked predominantly in the UK. I completed both my MSc Rehabilitation and PhD at the University of Southampton in the UK and have worked as an academic since 1994. Over the years I have been an active researcher, working on numerous projects together with researchers across the UK and abroad. Alongside my research I have developed and delivered postgraduate programmes, supervised MSc and PhD students to completion and provided leadership to a wide range of nursing and allied health postgraduate programmes. I have held a number of key leadership roles such as Head of School of Health Professions and Rehabilitation Sciences and Faculty Head of Postgraduate Programmes at Southampton. In January 2011 I joined AUT University as an Associate Professor in Rehabilitation, working with Professor McPherson at the Person Centered Research Centre. 

Teaching Areas:

  • Concepts of Rehabilitation
  • Outcome measurement in health and rehabilitation
  • Rasch analysis

Research Areas:

  • New ways of working in rehabilitation
  • Measurement of meaningful outcome

Research Summary:

My research focuses on the evaluation of
1) New ways of working in rehabilitation. For example, recent work has included a multi-centre randomised controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of a group-based cognitive behavioural approach to managing fatigue in people with Multiple Sclerosis and an RCT examining whether a cardiac rehabilitation programme is effective for people with TIA in reducing their cardiovascular risk factors. I have used a range of methodological approaches in this work, including qualitative and quantitative approaches.  
2) I have a particular interest in the development and evaluation of meaningful outcomes in rehabilitation. This work has included detailed investigations of commonly used measurement tools such as the visual analogue scale, as well exploration of cultural validity and clinical utility of measures. I have advanced skills in Rasch analysis and traditional psychometrics and use both in this work.

Current Research Projects:

  • An RCT examining the effectiveness of a cardiac rehabilitation programme of rehabilitation versus standard care in reducing cerebrovascular risk factors post Transient Ischemic Attack (UK based)
  • A multi-centre RCT to assess the effectiveness of a group-based cognitive behavioural approach to managing fatigue in people with Multiple Sclerosis (UK based)
  • An explorative study of stroke participants’ perceptions of integration following their stroke


  1. Kersten, P., McCambridge, A., McPherson, K. M., Kayes, N., & Theadom, A. (in press). Bridging the gap between goal intentions and actions: a systematic review in patient populations. Disability and Rehabilitation.
  2. Kersten, P., White, P. J., & Tennant, A. (2014). Is the pain visual analogue scale linear and responsive to change? an exploration using rasch analysis. PloS One, 9(6), e99485. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0099485
  3. Larmer, P., Bell, J., O'Brien, D., Dangan, J., & Kersten, P. (in press). Hydrotherapy outcome measures for people with arthritis: a systematic review. New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy.
  4. Larmer, P., Dangan, J., & Kersten, P. (in press). Patient reported benefits of hydrotherapy for arthritis. New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy.
  5. Taylor, J., & Kersten, P. (in press). Psychometric properties and clinical utility of the patient-rated wrist and hand evaluation. New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy.
  6. Thomas, P., Thomas, S., Kersten, P., Jones, R., Slingsby, V., Nock, A., . . . Hillier, C. (2014). One year follow-up of a pragmatic multi-centre randomised controlled trial of a group-based fatigue management programme (FACETS). BMC Neurology, 14(109), 1-6. doi:10.1186/1471-2377-14-109
  7. Thomas, S., & Kersten, P. (2014). Fatigue, FACETS and future directions for fatigue management [Editorial]. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 21(2), 57-57.
  8. Thomas, S., Kersten, P., & Thomas, P. (in press). The multiple sclerosis fatigue self-efficacy scale (MS-FSE): initial validation. Clinical Rehabilitation.
  9. Boger, E. and P. Kersten (2013). "A review of the evidence in support of the SF-36 and general self-efficacy scale to evaluate a vocational rehabilitation service." Working Papers in the Health Sciences 1:4.
  10. Hillsdon, K., et al. (2013). "A qualitative study exploring patients’ experiences of standard care or cardiac rehabilitation post minor stroke and transient ischaemic attack." Clinical Rehabilitation 27(9): 845-853.
  11. Johnston, J., et al. (2013). "Physiotherapy alignment with guidelines for the management of stroke in the inpatient setting." New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy 41(3): 102-111.
  12. Kirk, H., et al. (2013). "The cardiac model of rehabilitation for reducing cardiovascular risk factors post transient ischaemic attack and stroke: a randomised controlled trial." Clinical Rehabilitation 28(4): 339-340.
  13. Larmer, P., et al. (2013). "A systematic review of guidelines for the physical management of osteoarthritis." Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 95(2): 375-389.
  14. Mudge, S., et al. (2013). "Living well with disability: Needs, values and competing factors." International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 10(1): 100.
  15. Thomas, S., et al. (2013). "A pragmatic parallel arm multi-centre randomised controlled trial to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a group-based fatigue management programme (FACETS) for people with multiple sclerosis." Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry 84(10): 1092-1099.
  16. Kersten, P., et al. (2012). "Reply on  "How should we use the visual analogue scale (CAS) in rehabilitation outcomes?"." Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine 44(9): 803-804.
  17. Kersten, P., et al. (2012). "The use of the visual analogue scale (VAS) in rehabilitation outcomes." Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine 44(7): 609-610.
  18. Krageloh, C. U., et al. (2012). "Validation of the WHOQOL-BREF quality of life questionnaire for general use in New Zealand: confirmatory factor analysis and Rasch analysis." Quality of Life Research 22(6): 1451-1457.
  19. McPherson, K. M., et al. (2012). "Making rehabilitation engaging." Brain Injury 26(4-5): 495. 
  20. Kersten P, White PJ, Tennant A (2011). Construct validity of the Holistic Complementary and Alternative Medicines Questionnaire (HCAMQ) – an investigation using modern psychometric approaches. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. eCAM Advance Access published September 30, 2009. doi:10.1093/ecam/nep141
  21. Thomas PW, Thomas S, Kersten P, Jones R, Nock A, Slingsby V, Green C, Baker R, Galvin K, Hillier C (2010). Multi-centre parallel arm randomised controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of a group-based cognitive behavioural approach to managing fatigue in people with multiple sclerosis. BMC Neurology 10:43.
  22. Verheyden G, Kersten P (2010). Investigating the internal validity of the Trunk Impairment Scale (TIS) using Rasch analysis: the TIS 2.0. Disability and Rehabilitation. Early on line DOI: 10.3109/09638288.2010.483038
  23. Kersten P, Ellis-Hill CS, McPherson K, Harrington R (2010). Beyond the RCT - understanding the relationship between interventions, individuals and outcome - the example of neurological conditions. Disability and Rehabilitation. 32(12): 1028–1034. DOI: 10.3109/09638281003775568
  24. Kersten P, White PJ, Tennant A (2010). The Visual Analogue WOMAC 3.0 scale – an investigation of its internal validity using modern psychometric approaches. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 11:80 (30 April 2010)
  25. Kersten P, Ashburn A, George SL, Low J (2010). The Subjective Index for Physical and Social Outcome (SIPSO) in Stroke: and investigation of its subscale structure. BMC Neurology. BMC Neurology 10:26 (26 April 2010)
  26. Lewis JS, Kersten P, McPherson KM, Taylor GJ, Harris N, McCabe CS, Blake DR (2010). Wherever is my arm? Impaired upper limb position accuracy in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Pain. doi:10.1016/j.pain.2010.02.007
  27. Lewis JS, Kersten P, McCabe CS, McPherson K, Blake DR (2007). Body perception disturbance: A contribution to pain in complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Pain; 133 (1-3):111-119.
  28. Kersten P, Cardol M, George S, Ward C, Sibley A, White B (2007). Validity of the Impact on Participation and Autonomy questionnaire – a comparison between two countries. Disability and Rehabilitation; 29(19): 1502 – 1509
  29. Kersten P, McPherson K, Lattimer V, George S, Breton A, Ellis B (2007). Physiotherapy extended scope of practice – who is doing what and why?  Physiotherapy. 93:235–242
  30. Jackson D, Horn S, Kersten P, Turner-Stokes L (2006). Development of a pictorial Scale of Pain Intensity (SPIN) for patients with communication impairments: initial validation in a general population. Clinical Medicine;6 (6):580–5
  31. Jackson D, Horn S, Kersten P, Turner-Stokes L (2006). A pictorial scale of pain intensity (SPIN) for patients with communication impairments. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation 13 (10): 457-463.
  32. McPherson K, Kersten P, George S, Lattimer V, Breton A, Ellis B, Kaur D, Frampton G. (2006). A systematic review of evidence about extended roles for Allied Health Professionals. Journal Health Services Research and Policy 11(4):240-247.
  33. Sibley A, Kersten P, Ward CD, George S, White B, Mehta RL (2006). Measuring autonomy in disabled people: validation of a new scale in a UK population. Clinical Rehabilitation 20(9):793-803.
  34. Ellis B, Kersten P, Sibley A (2005). A Delphi study of the role parameters and requirements of extended scope practice in hand therapy. British Journal of Hand Therapy 10 (3/4):80-86.

Last updated: 04-Nov-2015 5.00pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.