Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Wayne Adams

Second Advisor

Kathleen Gathercoal

Third Advisor

Marie-Christine Rutter-Goodworth


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a degenerative neurological disorder characterized by cognitive and functional impairment (Budson & Solomon, 2011). Its prevalence is expected to rise in the upcoming decades as the world’s population ages (Alzheimer’s Association, 2014). Amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a clinical diagnostic entity that may represent very early AD (Morris et al., 2001). Both disorders involve significant impairment in episodic memory, necessitating reliable memory measures when making diagnoses. Although verbal memory is most often impaired in the earliest stages of disease (Budson & Price, 2005), visual memory is also predictor of AD (Kawas et al., 2003). Partly due to a lack of comparative data between visual memory measures, they are often chosen based on clinical rather than psychometric needs. This study compared several commonly-used visual memory measures in order to provide data to which clinicians can refer when choosing between measures when time is limited.

A 2 × 8 mixed within-between groups design was used to compare measures in a group of 20 older adult patients at a memory disorders clinic diagnosed with AD or MCI and in a comparison group 20 normal healthy controls. Subtests from the Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning, 2nd Edition (WRAML2; Sheslow & Adams, 2003), the Wechsler Memory Scale, 4th Edition (WMS-IV; Wechsler, 2009), and the Brief Visuospatial Memory Test, Revised Edition (BVMT-R; Benedict, 1997) were administered to each participant as part of a comprehensive test battery. Correlations between measures were stronger in the control group (r =-.335 to .871, mean r = .157) than in the control group (r = -.421 to .825, mean r = .289). Mean scaled scores differed significantly between groups on most measures, with large effect sizes (d = 1.26 to 2.77, mean d = 1.815). Differences in mean scaled scores between some measures were larger in the clinical group than in the control group. Results demonstrate convergent validity between measures despite differences in item content and response format. Certain measures demonstrated psychometric characteristics that may be advantageous depending on the clinical setting.

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