College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Effects of Patient Age on Neuropsychological Test Interpretation.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-1994

Publication Title

Professional Psychology: Research and Practice

ISSN

0735-7028

Volume

25

Issue/No.

3

Abstract

Normative test data for a 38-year-old and for a 74-year-old were obtained for the Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Test Battery (HRNB), the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale—Revised (WAIS—R), and the Wechsler Memory Scale (WMS). These test protocols were presented for blind interpretation to a random sample of psychologists specializing in neuropsychology. Test results for the "average" elderly person were interpreted as normal less frequently (42%) than results for the "average" younger adult (93%). The elderly person's test results also received higher impairment ratings and were frequently interpreted as reflecting dementia (23%). S's level of confidence with decisions made did not have an impact on accuracy rates. In addition, personal, training, and professional variables were not significantly related to judgment accuracy. The results suggest a tendency for misinterpretation of normal elderly persons' test performance.

DOI

10.1037//0735-7028.25.3.288