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We used a rational-empirical approach in the construction and
validation of a cognitive activity scale for use with elderly
populations. The scale development effort produced a 25-item scale with
a reasonably high level of internal consistency in a sample of 200
elderly individuals. Scale scores were positively correlated with years
of education and measures of various domains of cognitive ability. In a
separate cross-validation sample, a similar pattern of reliability and
validity coefficients was obtained. The full scale score was found to
contribute significantly to the prediction of cognitive ability after
controlling for the effects of age, education, and gender. Two
subscales (Higher Cognitive Abilities and Frequent Cognitive Abilities)
and a measure of self-reported maintenance of cognitive activity were
also developed. In a separate study, the maintenance score was found to
differ significantly between the validation sample and a sample of
individuals with a history of neurological disorder, with a moderate
effect size (d approximately = .7). Further cross-validation
studies in minority groups and groups of varying socioeconomic status
will be critical in establishing the research and clinical value of the
scale and subscales. (JINS, 2005, 11,
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