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Few independent studies have examined the psychometric properties of the NIH Toolbox Cognition Battery (NIHTB-CB) in older adults, despite growing interest in its use for clinical purposes. In this paper we report the test–retest reliability and construct validity of the NIHTB-CB, as well as its agreement or concordance with traditional neuropsychological tests of the same construct to determine whether tests could be used interchangeably.
Sixty-one cognitively healthy adults ages 60–80 completed “gold standard” (GS) neuropsychological tests, NIHTB-CB, and brain MRI. Test–retest reliability, convergent/discriminant validity, and agreement statistics were calculated using Pearson’s correlations, concordance correlation coefficients (CCC), and root mean square deviations.
Test–retest reliability was acceptable (CCC = .73 Fluid; CCC = .85 Crystallized). The NIHTB-CB Fluid Composite correlated significantly with cerebral volumes (r’s = |.35−.41|), and both composites correlated highly with their respective GS composites (r’s = .58−.84), although this was more variable for individual tests. Absolute agreement was generally lower (CCC = .55 Fluid; CCC = .70 Crystallized) due to lower precision in fluid scores and systematic overestimation of crystallized composite scores on the NIHTB-CB.
These results support the reliability and validity of the NIHTB-CB in healthy older adults and suggest that the fluid composite tests are at least as sensitive as standard neuropsychological tests to medial temporal atrophy and ventricular expansion. However, the NIHTB-CB may generate different estimates of performance and should not be treated as interchangeable with established neuropsychological tests.
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