Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches and Lectures


Validation of the Oral Word Memory Test in Dementia and Psychiatric Disorders

Event Location / Date(s)

Seattle, WA / November 17-20, 2004

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Presentation Date


Conference Name / Publication Title

24th Annual Meeting of the National Academy of Neuropsychology



Objective: The Word Memory Test is a paired-associates recognition test designed to identify insufficient effort. This study provides comparison group data for patients with claims of memory difficulty due to depression/anxiety and dementias.

Method: The psychiatric sample consisted of 30 patients treated at a CMHC for DSM-4 depression or anxiety disorders. The group scored in the moderate ranges of depression and anxiety on the Beck Inventories. The cortical dementia sample consisted of 24 patients examined at a medical center who met NINDS criteria for probable Alzheimer’s disease. The group displayed mild impairment on the Minimental State and WMS-3 Logical Memory. The subcortical dementia group consisted of 20 patients with vascular or Parkinson’s dementias. The group showed mild impairment on the CVLT-2. No patients in the study sought financial compensation.

Results: Diagnostic specificity based on published cutoff scores was 90% for Delayed Recall, 80% for Immediate Recall, and 75 or 73% for Consistency in the subcortical dementia or psychiatric groups. WMT scores were not correlated with age, education, Beck Depression or Anxiety scores in the psychiatric sample. In subcortical dementias, WMT scores were unrelated to age, education, Digit Span, or CVLT Delayed Free Recall. Specificity in the Alzheimer’s group was 58% for WMT Immediate Recall, 67% for Delayed Recall, and 45% for Consistency. WMT scores were significantly correlated with Minimental and Logical Memory scores.

Conclusions: The WMT has good specificity in depression, anxiety, and subcortical dementia. Below chance criteria should be used in claims involving Alzheimer’s dementia.

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