Validity of the NIH toolbox cognitive battery in a healthy oldest-old 85+ sample

Sara A. Nolin, Hannah Cowart, Stacy Merritt, Katalina McInerney, P. K. Bharadwaj, Mary Kate Franchetti, David A. Raichlen, Cortney J. Jessup, G. Alex Hishaw, Emily J. Van Etten, Theodore P. Trouard, David S. Geldmacher, Virginia G. Wadley, Eric S. Porges, Adam J. Woods, Ron A. Cohen, Bonnie E. Levin, Tatjana Rundek, Gene E. Alexander, Kristina M. Visscher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the construct validity of the NIH Toolbox Cognitive Battery (NIH TB-CB) in the healthy oldest-old (85+ years old). Method: Our sample from the McKnight Brain Aging Registry consists of 179 individuals, 85 to 99 years of age, screened for memory, neurological, and psychiatric disorders. Using previous research methods on a sample of 85 + y/o adults, we conducted confirmatory factor analyses on models of NIH TB-CB and same domain standard neuropsychological measures. We hypothesized the five-factor model (Reading, Vocabulary, Memory, Working Memory, and Executive/Speed) would have the best fit, consistent with younger populations. We assessed confirmatory and discriminant validity. We also evaluated demographic and computer use predictors of NIH TB-CB composite scores. Results: Findings suggest the six-factor model (Vocabulary, Reading, Memory, Working Memory, Executive, and Speed) had a better fit than alternative models. NIH TB-CB tests had good convergent and discriminant validity, though tests in the executive functioning domain had high inter-correlations with other cognitive domains. Computer use was strongly associated with higher NIH TB-CB overall and fluid cognition composite scores. Conclusion: The NIH TB-CB is a valid assessment for the oldest-old samples, with relatively weak validity in the domain of executive functioning. Computer use's impact on composite scores could be due to the executive demands of learning to use a tablet. Strong relationships of executive function with other cognitive domains could be due to cognitive dedifferentiation. Overall, the NIH TB-CB could be useful for testing cognition in the oldest-old and the impact of aging on cognition in older populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)605-614
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 14 2023


  • aged 85 and over
  • cognition
  • confirmatory factor analysis
  • construct validity
  • neuropsychological tests
  • test development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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