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Title: Assessing premorbid intellectual abilities in closed head injury : a comparison of the National Adult Reading Test, Spot-the-Word and Cambridge Contextual Reading Test
Author: Watt, K. J.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1997
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The present study examines the utility of three measures of premorbid intellectual functioning in closed head injury. One of the most fundamental aspects of the clinical neuropsychological evaluation of patients with acquired brain injury is establishing their likely level of functioning prior to the injury. Reliable and meaningful methods for determining premorbid intellectual levels of these patients are essential to aid in the evaluation of intellectual deterioration, in establishing treatment and rehabilitation goals and in resolving medico-legal issues. The most common approach to estimating premorbid intelligence is to use tests of present ability which are considered to be relatively resistant to neurological and psychiatric disorder. Currently, the most commonly used is the National Adult Reading Test (NART) which provides estimates based on the oral pronunciation of irregular words. The Cambridge Contextual Reading Test (CCRT) is a development of the NART where the NART words are set within a semantic and syntactic context. The Spot-the-Word is a test based on lexical decision making whereby a number of parallel routes to perform the task would seem to make it more resistant to the effects of brain damage. The validity of these measures was examined in the current study. A group of 25 head injured subjects was compared with 50 healthy controls and 20 orthopaedic trauma controls. The head-injured group performed significantly worse than the control groups on measures of current intellectual ability, however, no significant differences emerged between the groups on any of the premorbid measures. The CCRT showed the strongest correlation with measures of current intellectual ability and the Spot-the-Word the lowest. Further, depression emerged as a potentially important confounding variable. These results provide supportive evidence for the use of the CCRT in estimating premorbid intellectual functioning in patients who have sustained closed head injury. These implications are discussed and methodological issues highlighted.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available