Trail Making Test in traumatic brain injury, schizophrenia, and normal ageing: sample comparisons and normative data

Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2007 May;22(4):433-47. doi: 10.1016/j.acn.2007.01.022. Epub 2007 Mar 1.


The Trail Making Test (TMT) has been a useful assessment tool to investigate executive function. Several studies have recently improved the existing TMT norms by mean of large samples of healthy individuals stratified by a number of demographic variables from different populations. In contrast, criticisms have been raised about the utility of norms from healthy samples to detect changes across time in clinical samples where TMT performance used to be altered. In addition, few studies have compared groups of patients with deficits in TMT performance, making it difficult to decide whether a single set of norms is sufficient to assess different clinical populations. We provide normative data from three large samples of patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) (n=90), schizophrenia spectrum disorders (n=127), and healthy Spanish speakers (n=223). Differences between healthy participants and patients in all TMT direct (TMT-A, TMT-B) and derived (B-A, B:A, B-A/A) scores were found. TMT performance was poorer in TBI patients than in schizophrenia patients except for the B:A and B-A/A scores, suggesting a similar underlying executive deficit. Normal ageing impaired both direct and derived TMT indices, as revealed by lower scores in the healthy elderly group (55-80 years old) as compared with young (16-24) and middle-aged (25-54) healthy participants. Three different sets of norms stratified by age, education, or both are presented for clinical use. Recommendations on TMT scores are made for future research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / ethnology
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Brain Injuries / ethnology
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Schizophrenia / ethnology
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*
  • Trail Making Test*