Ashley Peck successfully proposed her thesis, "Handcuff restraint influence on state anxiety and Personality Assessment Inventory responding." Thank you Drs. Cox and Gardner for the awesome feedback.
Abstract: Standardized test administration is key to a test’s validity, but is sometimes thwarted in correctional environments when policy or staff require that examinees wear restraints. Restraints such as handcuffs may impact participants’ state anxiety, stress, frustration, and profile validity, thereby confounding “state” and “trait” anxiety and construct validity. Participants in this study will be randomized to handcuffed or unhandcuffed conditions and administered the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI). State anxiety will be measured subjectively via the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) and objectively using heart rate variability (HRV). I hypothesize that individuals who are handcuffed while completing the PAI will report higher subjective state anxiety and show decreased HRV (an objective indicator of higher state anxiety) than individuals who are not handcuffed while completing the measure. In addition, I expect to find that handcuffed individuals will produce more invalid PAI protocols than unhandcuffed individuals due to elevated INF, INC, and NIM scale scores and significantly higher PAI scores associated with anxiety, stress, and irritability. PAI scores will be partially explained by handcuff/unhandcuffed conditions and subjective and objective measures of state anxiety in regression analyses. Findings will inform “real world” forensic practice, when standardized test administration is not always the norm.
Article by Ben Meyers posted here.
Shelby Hunter will present the poster, Do neuropsychologists find pediatric patients more credible than adults? Exploring potential for age bias in neuropsychological effort testing, at the International Neuropsychology Society's 2020 Conference.
Investigators: Hunter, Hovater, LaDuke, & Kois:
Objective: Credibility research shows adults often find children more believable than adults. We examined whether these findings translate to neuropsychological contexts, specifically as related to performance validity. This topic is underexplored in the neuropsychology literature (MacAllister et al., 2009). We anticipated that neuropsychologists would more likely find pediatric examinees effortful relative to adults.
Participants and Method: Participants were NAN and AACN listserv members who completed the study via Qualtrics. Participants were randomized to vignette conditions describing either a pediatric (age 9) or adult (age 23) assessment scenario. Vignettes were otherwise identical and indicated the examinee performed below recommended cut-offs on the TOMM and VSVT Hard Items.
Participants indicated whether the examinee’s performance was invalid, valid, or that they were unsure, as well as their level of confidence (slightly, moderately, very, or extremely). A composite outcome variable was constructed by multiplying participants' perceived performance validity by their level of confidence.
Results: An initial 94 participants began the study. A final sample of N = 44 were included in analyses after excluding due to failed manipulation checks, incomplete surveys, and not reporting at least slight familiarity with both pediatric and adult validity literatures. Participants were approximately 45 years old on average, 71% women, and 98% White. The majority (66%) held a PhD and have been practicing for approximately 15 years.
An independent sample t-test indicated a significant difference between conditions on validity/confidence composite scores, t(42) = 2.05, p = .047, Cohen's d = 0.65. Participants were significantly more likely to find the pediatric examinee’s performance valid and were more confident in their opinions relative to the adult examinee. This was a medium-to-large effect size.
Conclusions: This novel yet concerning finding suggests that neuropsychological standards of care can vary according to examinee age. Results remind neuropsychologists of the importance of objective normative data and stress the need for continued research in this area.