Engagement in Preferred ActivitieS Scale

The Engagement in Preferred ActivitieS Scale (EPASS) was developed in order to provide recreation and activity professionals with a rapid assessment instrument that can be used to measure an individual’s level of engagement in activities of interest.  This instrument utilizes three separate variables (duration, attentiveness, and positive attitude) that are considered in combination in order to obtain an overall level of engagement score for the individual during the activity.

Scoring: After assigning the appropriate rating for each category, add the numbers together to get a final score to determine level of engagement during the activity (disengaged, mildly engaged, moderately engaged, or highly engaged).


Notes for use of this scale:

  • If an individual is “borderline” on one or more of the ratings, the evaluator should always score up and apply the higher rating.
  • It is recommended that the first and last 2-10 minutes of the activity (depending on length of program) are not used for evaluation to allow for natural distractions that occur within the beginning and final minutes of the activity.

Guidelines for Use:

  • This tool is designed for use during activities that individuals or their family members have identified as “very important” or “somewhat important” preferences based on the Preferences for Everyday Living Inventory (PELI), Minimum Data Set (MDS), or other preference based activity assessment.

Note: If using the MDS only, the question “How important is it to do your favorite activities?” should be clarified through a more specific Therapeutic Recreation assessment or interest survey.

  • This tool is also designed for use in activities where the individual’s current level of functioning has been determined based on the Global Deterioration Scale (GDS) and the individual has been included in activity programming that is structured and adapted based on that level of functioning.
  • The EPASS should not be utilized during group programming where there is no attention to functional level of the individual and/or that individual’s activity preferences.

EPASS Definitions:

Duration: Percentage of time the individual spends dedicated to the task(s) in the activity.

Attentiveness: Percentage of effort displayed during the activity.

  • The following behaviors are examples of ways an individual may display effort:

Verbal Initiation                                 Eye Contact

Motor initiation                                  Gestures

Visual Scanning                                Nodding

Positive Attitude:  Percentage of time in the activity that in-context feelings are expressed or emotions are exhibited.

  • Since positive attitude will be situational depending on the nature of the activity, the evaluator will need to use clinical judgement and observations in addition to considering feelings/emotions that may be stated outright by an individual.
  • The following is a list of behaviors that may be indicative of positive attitude:

Smiling                                             Laughing

Cheering                                          Facial Expressions

Download a printable PDF version of the EPASS HERE