The Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status effort scale

Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2012 Mar;27(2):190-5. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acr119. Epub 2012 Jan 25.


The measurement of effort is now considered to be an important component of neuropsychological assessment. In addition to stand-alone measures, built-in, or embedded measures of effort have been derived for a limited number of standard neurocognitive tests. The Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) is a widely used brief battery, employed as a core diagnostic tool in dementia and as a neurocognitive screening battery or tracking/outcome measure in a variety of other disorders. An effort index (EI) for the RBANS has been published previously (Silverberg, N. D., Wertheimer, J. C., & Fichtenberg, N. L. 2007. An EI for the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS). Clinical Neuropsychology, 21 (5), 841-854), but it has been reported to result in high false positive rates when applied to patients with "true" amnesia (e.g., Alzheimer's disease). We created a new effort scale (ES) for the RBANS based on the observation of patterns of free recall and recognition performance in amnesia versus inadequate effort. The RBANS ES was validated on a sample of patients with amnestic disorders and a sample of mild traumatic brain injury participants who failed a separate measure of effort. The sensitivity and specificity of the new ES was compared with the previously published EI. Receiver-operating characteristic analyses demonstrated much better sensitivity and specificity of the ES, with a marked reduction in false positive errors. Application and limitations of the RBANS ES, including indications for its use, are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / complications
  • Amnesia / complications
  • Area Under Curve
  • Brain Injuries / complications
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • ROC Curve
  • Recognition, Psychology