AUT - Paula Kersten


Associate Professor Paula Kersten

Paula Kersten

Phone: +64 9 921 9999 ext9180


Physical Address:

Room AA272, School of Rehabilitation & Occupation Studies, AUT North Shore Campus, 90 Akoranga Drive, Northcote 0627, Auckland, New Zealand

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

Links to relevant web pages:


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, 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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)
  6. 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)
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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: 12 Mar 2014 4:46pm

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