Date of Award

4-17-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology

Committee Chair

Michael Daniel, Ph.D.

Abstract

Memory testing is one of the primary methods for distinguishing normal age-related memory change from abnormal memory decline indicative of neuropathological conditions. However, this differentiation is made difficult by the substantial decline in memory test performance that occurs with normal aging. Memory tests that are clinically useful for younger patients are not for those age 60 and older because normal performance is low. Thus there is a low test score ceiling making it difficult to distinguish clinically significant memory impairment from normal age-related decline. While age-related decline in memory test performance occurs for verbal and visual-graphic memory tests, it is more pronounced for visual-graphic memory tests involving drawing. The Brief Visuospatial Memory Test-Revised (BVMT-R; Benedict, 1997) is a visual-graphic memory test that is clinically useful for the elderly because the content is easier thus avoiding problems inherent in tests with low score ceilings. However, a limitation of the test is that the norms extend only to age 79 and many patients referred for evaluation are in their 80's. The BVMT-R was administered to 50 adults. Forty-nine of the participant's scores were used to create norming data for two age groups, 80-84 and 80-89. The scores obtained from this sample were clinically different from those published in the test manual for ages 72-79. In fact, the decline in Total Recall scores from the 72-79 group in the manual to the 80-84 group in this study is larger than would be predicted based on age related differences between other age groups in the manual or the differences between the two age groups in this study. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Share

COinS