The Clinical Utility of the Conners' Continuous Performance Test-II in Traumatic Brain Injury

Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2016 Dec 1;31(8):996-1005. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acw078.


Objective: The Conners' Continuous Performance Test Second Edition (CPT-II) is a measure commonly used in persons with suspected attentional deficits. Our study examined the utility of the CPT-II as a measure of attention in adults with traumatic brain injury (TBI) of varying severity.

Method: As part of a larger investigation, several measures of cognitive functioning, including the CPT-II, were administered to 30 healthy control participants (HCP), 30 mild TBI participants (M-TBI), and 30 moderate to severe TBI participants (MS-TBI). Multivariate and correlational analyses compared group performances and examined convergent and divergent relationships between the CPT-II and various measures, including other tests of attention and neuropsychological function.

Results: Group differences were found for four of six CPT-II variables, with the MS-TBI group exhibiting greater impairment, relative to M-TBI and HCP. In addition, the CPT-II commission and detectability variables were found to correlate significantly with TBI severity. The CPT-II variables also demonstrated correlations of varying magnitude between commonly used neuropsychological measures.

Conclusions: These findings support the utility of the CPT-II for assessing attentional abilities in persons with TBI of varying severity, particularly those with moderate to severe status. Moreover, the current study also demonstrates relationships that are consistent with convergent validity but inconsistent findings with regard to divergent validity. As a result, the CPT-II measures components of attention that is unique to other commonly used neuropsychological measures of attentive functioning. Further research examining CPT-II performance in TBI populations is recommended.

Keywords: Attention; Continuous performance tests; Neuropsychological assessment; Traumatic brain injury.