A comparison of computerized and pencil-and-paper tasks in assessing cognitive function in community-dwelling older people in the Newcastle 85+ pilot study

Joanna Collerton, Daniel Collerton, Yasumichi Arai, Karen Barrass, Martin Eccles, Carol Jagger, Ian McKeith, Brian K. Saxby, Tom Kirkwood, John Bond, Oliver James, Louise Robinson, Thomas Von Zglinicki

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To compare the acceptability and feasibility of computerized and pencil-and-paper tests of cognitive function in 85-year-old people. DESIGN: Group comparison of participants randomly allocated to pencil-and-paper (Wechsler Adult Intelligence and Memory Scales) or computerized (Cognitive Drug Research) tests of verbal memory and attention. SETTING: The Newcastle 85+ Pilot Study was the precursor to the Newcastle 85+ Study a United Kingdom Medical Research Council/Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council cohort study of health and aging in the oldest-old age group. PARTICIPANTS: Eighty-one community-dwelling individuals aged 85. MEASUREMENTS: Participant and researcher acceptability, completion rates, time taken, validity as cognitive measures, and psychometric utility. RESULTS: Participants randomized to computerized tests were less likely to rate the cognitive function tests as difficult (odds ratio (OR)=0.16, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.07-0.39), stressful (OR=0.18, 95% CI=0.07-0.45), or unacceptable (OR=0.18, 95% CI=0.08-0.48) than those randomized to pencil-and-paper tests. Researchers were also less likely to rate participants as being distressed in the computer test group (OR=0.19, 95% CI=0.07-0.46). Pencil-and-paper tasks took participants less time to complete (mean±standard deviation 18±4 minutes vs 26±4 minutes) but had fewer participants who could complete all tasks (91% vs 100%). Both types of task were equally good measures of cognitive function. CONCLUSION: Computerized and pencil-and-paper tests are both feasible and useful means of assessing cognitive function in the oldest-old age group. Computerized tests are more acceptable to participants and administrators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1630-1635
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume55
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Oct

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Keywords

  • Aging
  • Assessment
  • Cognition
  • Newcastle 85+ Study
  • Older people

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

Cite this

Collerton, J., Collerton, D., Arai, Y., Barrass, K., Eccles, M., Jagger, C., McKeith, I., Saxby, B. K., Kirkwood, T., Bond, J., James, O., Robinson, L., & Von Zglinicki, T. (2007). A comparison of computerized and pencil-and-paper tasks in assessing cognitive function in community-dwelling older people in the Newcastle 85+ pilot study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 55(10), 1630-1635. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2007.01379.x