Executive dysfunction in traumatic brain injury: the effects of injury severity and effort on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test

Jonathan S Ord, Kevin W Greve, Kevin J Bianchini, Luis E Aguerrevere
Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology 2010, 32 (2): 132-40
This study examined the persistent effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) on Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) performance. Since poor effort can contaminate results in populations with incentive to perform poorly, performance validity was explicitly assessed and controlled for using multiple well-validated cognitive malingering indicators. Participants were 109 patients with mild TBI and 67 patients with moderate-to-severe TBI seen for neuropsychological evaluation at least one year post injury. Patients with diffuse neurological impairment and healthy controls were included for comparison. Results suggested a dose-response effect of TBI severity on WCST performance in patients providing good effort; the mild TBI group did not differ from controls while increased levels of impairment were observed in the moderate-to-severe TBI group. Effort during testing had a larger impact on WCST performance than mild or moderate-to-severe TBI. Clinical implications of these findings are discussed.

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