Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, 18:177 | Cite as

Towards patient collaboration in cognitive assessment: Specificity, sensitivity, and incremental validity of self-report

  • Carolyn E. Schwartz
  • Elizabeth Kozora
  • Qi Zeng
Empirical Research


The present work addressed the specificity and sensitivity of patient-reported cognitive ability using both cross-sectional and longitudinal data, and the incremental validity of patient self-report in addition to knowledge gained through neuropsychological tests. We examined a sample of individuals with multiple sclerosis (N=130) as a model of chronic illness where neuropsychological deficits are relatively common. Results revealed that 64% of the sample reported noticing some problems with memory or confusion. Very high levels of reported problems were not consistent with objective testing, whereas moderate levels of noticing problems were congruent with test results. This pattern suggests a curvilinear relationship between self-reported and objective assessment. The moderate reporters seem to be attending to subtle increases in deficits over time. Results also supported the incremental validity of combining subjective and objective indices, but only when the high reporters were excluded. We conclude that patients can provide important complementary data which may promote preventive care.


Multiple Sclerosis Expand Disability Status Scale Behavioral Medicine Cognitive Problem Incremental Validity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolyn E. Schwartz
    • 1
  • Elizabeth Kozora
    • 2
  • Qi Zeng
    • 3
  1. 1.Frontier Science & Technology Research Foundation, Inc., Department of Psychiatry Deaconess HospitalHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.National Jewish Center for Immunology & Respiratory MedicineUniversity of Colorado School of MedicineUSA
  3. 3.Harvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA

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