Catch the ruler: concurrent validity and test–retest reliability of the ReacStick measures of reaction time and inhibitory executive function in older people

Kimberley S. van Schooten, Lionne Duran, Maike Visschedijk, Mirjam Pijnappels, Stephen R. Lord, James Richardson, Kim Delbaere*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Background: Reduced cognitive function, particularly executive function (EF), is associated with an increased risk of falling in older people. We evaluated the utility of the ReacStick test, a clinical test of reaction time, and inhibitory EF developed, for young athletes, for fall-risk assessment in older people. Aims: To evaluate the psychometric properties of ReacStick measures of reaction time and executive functioning in healthy community-dwelling older people. Methods: 140 participants (aged 77 ± 5 years) underwent testing. Two test conditions—simple and inhibitory go/no-go—provided measures of reaction time, recognition load (difference in reaction time between conditions), and go/no-go accuracy. Concurrent validity was evaluated against the conventional tests of reaction time and EF (simple hand reaction time, trail-making test, and Stroop colour test). Discriminant ability was determined for fall-risk factors (age, gender, physiological profile assessment, and fall history). Test–retest reliability after 1 week was evaluated in 30 participants. Results: ReacStick reaction time correlated with tests of reaction time and EF, recognition load correlated with inhibitory EF, and go accuracy correlated with reaction time and inhibitory EF. No-go accuracy was not significantly correlated with any of the reaction time and EF tests. Test–retest reliability was good-to-excellent (ICC > 0.6) for all the outcomes. ReacStick reaction time discriminated between groups based on age, recognition load between genders, and no-go accuracy between retrospective fallers and non-fallers. Discussion: An unavoidable time pressure may result in complementary information to the traditional measures. Conclusions: The ReacStick is a reliable test of reaction time and inhibitory EF in older people and could have value for fall-risk assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1147-1154
Number of pages8
JournalAging Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume31
Issue number8
Early online date9 Oct 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019

Keywords

  • Accidental falls
  • Aged
  • Cognition
  • Go–no-go
  • Task switching

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