Dichotomous scoring Of Trails B in patients referred for a dementia evaluation

Andrew L. Schmitt, Ronald B. Livingston, Eric N. Smernoff, James B. Harris, Bethany L. Waits, Kent M. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The Trail Making Test is a popular neuropsychological test and its interpretation has traditionally used time-based scores. This study examined an alternative approach to scoring that is simply based on the examinees' ability to complete the test. If an examinee is able to complete Trails B successfully, they are coded as "completers"; if not, they are coded as "noncompleters." To assess this approach to scoring Trails B, the performance of 97 diagnostically heterogeneous individuals referred for a dementia evaluation was examined. In this sample, 55 individuals successfully completed Trails B and 42 individuals were unable to complete it. Point-biserial correlations indicated a moderate-to-strong association (rpb =.73) between the Trails B completion variable and the Total Scale score of the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neurological Status (RBANS), which was larger than the correlation between the Trails B time-based score and the RBANS Total Scale score (rpb =.60). As a screen for dementia status, Trails B completion showed a sensitivity of 69% and a specificity of 100% in this sample. These results suggest that dichotomous scoring of Trails B might provide a brief and clinically useful measure of dementia status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-441
Number of pages13
JournalPerceptual and motor skills
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems


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