A preliminary investigation into the relationship between age, gender, education, occupation and "race" and performance on selected neuropsychological tests in a non-clinical adult sample

Master Thesis


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The present study investigated the relationship between the subject variables Age, Gender, Education level, Occupational Status and "Race" on neuropsychological test performance in a large, convenient, non-clinical sample. The Controlled Oral Word Association Test, Wechsler Paired-Associate Learning Test and Digit Supraspan was administered to 329 adults in the age range 18 - 80. The relationship between the subject variables and test performance was analysed by ANOVA. It was found that a higher level of Education and a higher Occupational level was associated with superior performance, irrespective of "Race". Consistently significant ANOVA results were obtained for Education and Occupation and these variables also produced the most variation in test performance (percentage variance estimates ranged from 7 - 25%). Differences due to "Race" were marked at the lower levels of Education and Occupation and were minimal or absent at the higher levels of Education and Occupation. Age and Gender influenced test performance to a lesser extent. and performed less consistently. One exception was the influence of Age on performance on the Wechsler Paired Associate Learning I Test, where the contribution was relatively large (percentage variance 6 - 7%), where younger subjects (18 - 50) performed better than older subjects (51 - 80). Generally, the results were consistent with previously published data and highlight the need for more complete normative data. Local normative data that takes into account the influence of these variables on neuropsychological test performance needs to be developed.