Center of pressure and the projection of the time-course of sitting skill acquisition

Johshua L. Haworth, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Regina T. Harbourne, University of Nebraska Medical Center
Srikant Vallabhajosula, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Nicholas Stergiou, University of Nebraska at Omaha

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Gait & Posture. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Gait &Posture, 38, 4, September 2013. DOI# 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2013.03.027.


A normal time-course for the acquisition of sitting is essential. A delay in sitting may affect other developmental milestones, resulting in deficiencies in overall skill. Therefore, our aim was to identify variables whose measures at the very beginning of sitting would allow for the projection of the evolution of the sitting skill. Center of pressure data were collected from the postural sway of twenty-six typically developing infants while sitting on a force platform with a beginning ability to sit upright. Spatial, temporal and frequency variables of postural sway were obtained from both the medial/lateral and anterior/posterior directions of sway. Discriminant function analysis was conducted to identify potential predictors of the duration between onset and fully independent sitting. Gender (p = 0.025), median frequency (p = 0.006), and correlation dimension (p = 0.002) were identified to be predictive of grouping with 73.1% correct classification of the participating infants into short, mid, and long delay groups. In conclusion, measures taken at the earliest stage of sitting may allow the projection of the time-course to achieve independent sitting for typical infants. This approach may be useful for monitoring typical development.