Further examination of embedded performance validity indicators for the Conners' Continuous Performance Test and Brief Test of Attention in a large outpatient clinical sample

Michael J Sharland, Stephen C Waring, Brian P Johnson, Allise M Taran, Travis A Rusin, Andrew M Pattock, Jeanette A Palcher
Clinical Neuropsychologist 2018, 32 (1): 98-108

OBJECTIVE: Assessing test performance validity is a standard clinical practice and although studies have examined the utility of cognitive/memory measures, few have examined attention measures as indicators of performance validity beyond the Reliable Digit Span. The current study further investigates the classification probability of embedded Performance Validity Tests (PVTs) within the Brief Test of Attention (BTA) and the Conners' Continuous Performance Test (CPT-II), in a large clinical sample.

METHOD: This was a retrospective study of 615 patients consecutively referred for comprehensive outpatient neuropsychological evaluation. Non-credible performance was defined two ways: failure on one or more PVTs and failure on two or more PVTs. Classification probability of the BTA and CPT-II into non-credible groups was assessed. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value were derived to identify clinically relevant cut-off scores.

RESULTS: When using failure on two or more PVTs as the indicator for non-credible responding compared to failure on one or more PVTs, highest classification probability, or area under the curve (AUC), was achieved by the BTA (AUC = .87 vs. .79). CPT-II Omission, Commission, and Total Errors exhibited higher classification probability as well.

CONCLUSION: Overall, these findings corroborate previous findings, extending them to a large clinical sample. BTA and CPT-II are useful embedded performance validity indicators within a clinical battery but should not be used in isolation without other performance validity indicators.

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