All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Karlene K Ball

Advisory Committee Members

Lesley Ross

David E Vance

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2010

Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

While computerized cognitive testing among older adults has become more common, such tests have not replaced traditional paper and pencil measures due to potential barriers to implementation. One potential barrier of concern is that prior computer attitudes, anxiety, and experience may affect performance. The purpose of the current study was to examine the relationship of prior computer attitudes, anxiety, and experience on the performance of three computerized cognitive tests: the Useful Field of View (UFOV®) test, the Road Sign Test (RST), and the Stroop Task. Specifically, one objective was to compare the differential effects of these computer variables on the performance of a young (62-70, n = 264) and an older (71-94, n = 370) group of older adults. Results revealed that across all three computerized tests, only prior computer experience emerged as a significant predictor of test performance in the two age groups. Furthermore, computer experience was predictive of performance across each test and age group except for the young old group on the UFOV® test. The small overall magnitude of the relationships, as well the similar R2 changes across age groups and cognitive test (R2 change = .02 - .03), indicate that the effect of computer experience does not likely influence performance enough to result in clinically meaningful differences in scores, nor does this effect seem to be differentially represented among older versus younger older adults. Implications for future directions in research and practice are provided.

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