The Utility of the CVLT-C as an Embedded Validity Indicator After Pediatric Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Capstone Project

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Fernand Lubuguin

Second Advisor

Michael Kirkwood

Third Advisor

Mark Aoyagi


Symptom validity testing, Quantitative research, Children, Diagnosis, Pediatrics, Neuropsychological assessment, Traumatic brain injury


Results of neuropsychological examinations depend on valid data. Whereas clinicians previously believed that clinical skill was sufficient to identify non-credible performance by examinees on standard tests, research demonstrates otherwise. Consequently, studies on measures to detect suspect effort in adults have received tremendous attention in the previous twenty years, and incorporation of validity indicators into neuropsychological examinations is now seen as integral. Few studies exist that validate methods appropriate for the measurement of effort in pediatric populations. Of extant studies, most evaluate standalone measures originally developed for use with adults. The present study examined the utility of indices from the California Verbal Learning Test – Children's Version (CVLT-C) as embedded validity indicators in a pediatric sample. Participants were 225 outpatients aged 8 to 16 years old referred for clinical assessment after mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Non-credible performance (n = 39) was defined as failure of the Medical Symptom Validity Test (MSVT). Logistic regression demonstrated that only the Recognition Discriminability index was predictive of MSVT failure (OR = 2.88, p < .001). A cutoff of z ≤ -1.0 was associated with sensitivity of 51% and specificity of 91%. In the current study, CVLT-C Recognition Discriminability was useful in the identification of non-credible performance in a sample of relatively high-functioning pediatric outpatients with mTBI. Thus, this index can be added to the short list of embedded validity indicators appropriate for pediatric neuropsychological assessment.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


52 pages

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