Factor structure of the ARIC-NCS Neuropsychological Battery: An evaluation of invariance across vascular factors and demographic characteristics

Psychol Assess. 2016 Dec;28(12):1674-1683. doi: 10.1037/pas0000293. Epub 2016 Mar 10.


Neuropsychological test batteries are designed to assess cognition in detail by measuring cognitive performance in multiple domains. This study examines the factor structure of tests from the ARIC-NCS battery overall and across informative subgroups defined by demographic and vascular risk factors in a population of older adults. We analyzed neuropsychological test scores from 6,413 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Neurocognitive Study (ARIC-NCS) examined in 2011-2013. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was used to assess the fit of an a priori hypothesized 3-domain model, and fit statistics were calculated and compared to 1- and 2-domain models. Additionally, we tested for stability (invariance) of factor structures among different subgroups defined by diabetes, hypertension, age, sex, race, and education. Mean age of participants was 76 years, 76% were White, and 60% were female. CFA on the a priori hypothesized 3-domain structure, including memory, sustained attention and processing speed, and language, fit the data better (comparative fit index [CFI] = 0.973, root mean square error of approximation [RMSEA] = 0.059) than the 2-domain (CFI = 0.960, RMSEA = 0.070) and 1-domain (CFI = 0.947, RMSEA = 0.080) models. Bayesian information criterion value was lowest, and quantile-quantile plots indicated better fit, for the 3-domain model. Additionally, multiple-group CFA supported a common structure across the tested demographic subgroups, and indicated strict invariance by diabetes and hypertension status. In this community-based population of older adults with varying levels of cognitive performance, the a priori hypothesized 3-domain structure fit the data well. The identified factors were configurally invariant by age, sex, race, and education, and strictly invariant by diabetes and hypertension status. (PsycINFO Database Record

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Cognition*
  • Demography
  • Diabetes Mellitus / psychology
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / psychology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors