Word list memory predicts everyday function and problem-solving in the elderly: results from the ACTIVE cognitive intervention trial

Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn. 2011 Mar;18(2):129-46. doi: 10.1080/13825585.2010.516814. Epub 2010 Nov 10.


Data from the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) trial (N = 2,802) were analyzed to examine whether word list learning predicts future everyday functioning. Using stepwise random effects modeling, measures from the modified administrations of the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test (HVLT) and the Auditory Verbal Learning Test (AVLT) were independently predictive of everyday IADL functioning, problem-solving, and psychomotor speed. Associations between memory scores and everyday functioning outcomes remained significant across follow-up intervals spanning 5 years. HVLT total recall score was consistently the strongest predictor of each functional outcome. Results suggest that verbal memory measures are uniquely associated with both current and future functioning and that specific verbal memory tests like the HVLT and AVLT have important clinical utility in predicting future functional ability among older adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy* / methods
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Problem Solving / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Verbal Learning / physiology*
  • Vocabulary