The development of a Trial Making Test in young children: The TRAILS-P

Kimberly Andrews Espy, Mary F. Cwik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Preschool children have a more limited verbal repertoire, less proficient manual skills, and more variable attention spans relative to those of school age, with comparatively few neuropsychological tasks available for use in this age range. A prototypic neuropsychological test, the Trail Making Test, was adapted for use with young children, the TRAILS-P, using a developmentally salient storybook format with colorful stimuli in differing conditions with varying executive demands. The TRAILS-P was administered to 103 normally developing preschoolers between 2 and 6 years of age; 30 of these children were retested within one month to determine test reliability. Correlations among latencies to complete each condition and condition errors generally were moderate to high, suggesting coherence in test content. There also was evidence for good test-retest reliability. Latency to complete the TRAILS-P conditions differed as a function of the interaction of condition type and age group. Although the youngest children generally took more time to complete all TRAILS-P conditions, 3-year-old children were disproportionately slow to complete the condition that required shifting between stamping stimuli of two classes, with distraction by the additional presence of irrelevant stimuli. In contrast, the number of errors differed only in the 5-year-olds relative to younger children. These findings suggest that executive abilities can be assessed adequately in young children when tasks are designed to take advantage of the developmentally unique features of the preschool period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-422
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Neuropsychologist
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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