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The cross-cultural utility of foreign- and locally-derived normative data for three WHO-endorsed neuropsychological tests for South African adolescents

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Interpretation of neuropsychological tests may be hampered by confounding sociodemographic factors and by using inappropriate normative data. We investigated these factors in three tests endorsed by the World Health Organization: the Grooved Pegboard Test (GPT), the Children's Color Trails Test (CCTT), and the WHO/UCLA version of the Auditory Verbal Learning Test (AVLT). In a sample of 12-15-year-old, Afrikaans- and English-speaking adolescents from the Cape Town region of South Africa, analyses of covariance (ANCOVAs) demonstrated that quality of education was the sociodemographic factor with the biggest influence on test performance, and that age also significantly influenced GPT and CCTT performance. Based on those findings, we provide appropriately stratified normative data for the age group in question. Comparisons between diagnostic interpretations made using foreign normative data versus those using the current local data demonstrate that it is imperative to use appropriately stratified normative data to guard against misinterpreting performance.

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