Although widely used, computerized neurocognitive tests (CNTs) have been criticized because of low reliability and poor sensitivity. A systematic review was published summarizing the reliability of Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) scores; however, this was limited to a single CNT. Expansion of the previous review to include additional CNTs and a meta-analysis is needed. Therefore, our purpose was to analyze reliability data for CNTs using meta-analysis and examine moderating factors that may influence reliability.
A systematic literature search (key terms: reliability, computerized neurocognitive test, concussion) of electronic databases (MEDLINE, PubMed, Google Scholar, and SPORTDiscus) was conducted to identify relevant studies.
Studies were included if they met all of the following criteria: used a test-retest design, involved at least 1 CNT, provided sufficient statistical data to allow for effect-size calculation, and were published in English.
Two independent reviewers investigated each article to assess inclusion criteria. Eighteen studies involving 2674 participants were retained. Intraclass correlation coefficients were extracted to calculate effect sizes and determine overall reliability. The Fisher Z transformation adjusted for sampling error associated with averaging correlations. Moderator analyses were conducted to evaluate the effects of the length of the test-retest interval, intraclass correlation coefficient model selection, participant demographics, and study design on reliability. Heterogeneity was evaluated using the Cochran Q statistic.
The proportion of acceptable outcomes was greatest for the Axon Sports CogState Test (75%) and lowest for the ImPACT (25%). Moderator analyses indicated that the type of intraclass correlation coefficient model used significantly influenced effect-size estimates, accounting for 17% of the variation in reliability.
The Axon Sports CogState Test, which has a higher proportion of acceptable outcomes and shorter test duration relative to other CNTs, may be a reliable option; however, future studies are needed to compare the diagnostic accuracy of these instruments.