MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Christopher Abeare, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
University of Windsor
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: In this study, we examined the prevalence of invalid performance on baseline neurocognitive testing in sport concussion. Baseline testing is a commonly employed practice in which the cognitive abilities of athletes are assessed pre-season. These baseline test results are then used as a point of comparison against which post-injury neurocognitive test results can be compared, thereby creating a more individualized approach to the assessment of neurocognitive functioning.
However, there has been growing concern about the validity of baseline test results, meaning that there is concern over the degree to which the scores on these baseline tests actually reflect an athlete’s true cognitive ability. There are many reasons why their test scores might not reflect their actual ability, ranging from inattentiveness during testing and lack of appreciation of the importance of doing their best on testing to intentional underperformance (aka “sandbagging” or malingering).
As a result of these concerns, 4 different validity measures have been developed. We compared these 4 validity measures, head to head, in a sample of 7897 athletes aged 10 to 21 years.
We found that 56% of athletes failed at least 1 of these validity measures, suggesting that as many as 56% of athletes have scores that may not reflect their true ability level. We then tested the hypothesis that age would be related to the proportion of athletes with invalid performance. Our findings supported this hypothesis in that nearly 84% of 10-year-olds failed at least one validity measure and 29% of 21-year-olds failed at least one. Continue reading