Publication Date

2015-06-02

Availability

Embargoed

Embargo Period

2017-06-02

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Kinesiology and Sport Sciences (Education)

Date of Defense

2015-05-13

First Committee Member

Joseph F. Signorile

Second Committee Member

Jennifer C. Britton

Third Committee Member

Nicholas D. Myers

Fourth Committee Member

Christopher Kuenze

Fifth Committee Member

Moataz Eltoukhy

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Reduction in executive function (EF) performance is one of the most important factors associated with the loss of functional independence among older adults. Computer-based tests are commonly used to evaluate EF; however, these tests are upper limb dominant (mouse and keyboard) while most activities of daily living (ADL) are lower limb dominant. The purpose of this study was to examine the utility of a newly developed walking EF test called the Walking Response and Inhibition Test (WRIT). We not only validated the WRIT by comparing the associations between its results and those of a number of established computer-based tests, but also by comparing both to a functional test known to require EF. We chose the Timed “Up & Go” Test (TUG) to do this analysis due to the proven association between EF, TUG performance and functional mobility. METHODS: Fifty healthy adults, ranging in age from 50 to 86 years (M = 65.52, SD = 9.63), were evaluated using three computer-based EF tests and the WRIT, TUG, verbal memory and agility. RESULTS: There was a significant positive correlation between all computer-based EF tests and the WRIT; however, regression analyses revealed that the WRIT explained 35.8% of the variance in the TUG, while the traditional computer-based tests explained 10.5%. The WRIT was also shown to have high internal consistency in this sample (Cronbach's alpha = 0.90; Lin’s Concordance (ρc) = 0.82). CONCLUSION: These results support the validity and reliability of the WRIT, and indicate that when assessing EF as it relates to functionality, the WRIT test is a more appropriate measure than existing computer-based mouse and keyboard tests.

Keywords

Executive Function; Test Development; Aging; Limb Specificity; Cognition; Activities of Daily Living

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