Test–retest reliability and practice effects of the Wechsler Memory Scale-III


Ada H. Y. Lo, School of Psychology, University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia (e-mail: hylo@uqconnect.edu.au).


Although serial administration of cognitive tests is increasingly common, there is a paucity of research on test–retest reliabilities and practice effects, both of which are important for evaluating changes in functioning. Reliability is generally conceptualized as involving short-lasting changes in performance. However, when repeated testing occurs over a period of years, there will be some longer lasting effects. The implications of these longer lasting effects and practice effects on reliability were examined in the context of repeated administrations of the Wechsler Memory Scale-III in 339 community-dwelling women aged 40–79 years over 2 to 7 years. The results showed that Logical Memory and Verbal Paired Associates subtests were consistently the most reliable subtests across the age cohorts. The magnitude of practice effects varied as a function of subtests and age. The largest practice effects were found in the youngest age cohort, especially on the Faces, Logical Memory, and Verbal Paired Associates subtests.