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Verbal Naming Test for Use with Older Adults: Development and Initial Validation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 March 2015

Brian P. Yochim*
VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California National Jewish Health, Denver, Colorado
Sherry A. Beaudreau
VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California University of Queensland, Australia
J. Kaci Fairchild
VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
Maya V. Yutsis
VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
Neda Raymond
VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California
Leah Friedman
VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
Jerome Yesavage
VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
Correspondence and reprint requests to: Brian Yochim, National Jewish Health, 1400 Jackson Street, B134, Denver, CO 80206. E-mail:


Naming or word-finding tasks are a mainstay of the typical neuropsychological evaluation, particularly with older adults. However, many older adults have significant visual impairment and there are currently no such word-finding tasks developed for use with older visually impaired populations. This study presents a verbal, non-visual measure of word-finding for use in the evaluation of older adults with possible dysnomia. Stimuli were chosen based on their frequency of usage in everyday spoken language. A 60-item scale was created and given to 131 older Veterans. Rasch analyses were conducted and differential item functioning assessed to eliminate poorly-performing items. The final 55-item scale had a coefficient alpha of 0.84 and correlated with the Neuropsychological Assessment Battery Naming test, r=0.84, p<.01, Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS) Category Fluency, r=0.45, p<.01, and the D-KEFS Letter Fluency, r=0.40, p<.01. ROC analyses found the measure to have sensitivity of 79% and specificity of 85% for detecting dysnomia. Patients with dysnomia performed worse on the measure than patients with intact word-finding, t(84)=8.2, p<.001. Patients with no cognitive impairment performed significantly better than patients with mild cognitive impairment, who performed significantly better than patients with dementia. This new measure shows promise in the neuropsychological evaluation of word-finding ability in older adults with or without visual impairment. Future directions include the development of a shorter version and the generation of additional normative data. (JINS, 2015, 21, 1–10)

Research Articles
Copyright © The International Neuropsychological Society 2015 

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