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Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2004 Sep;19(9):875-80.

Telephone word-list recall tested in the rural aging and memory study: two parallel versions for the TICS-M.

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  • 1Department of Geriatrics, Donald W. Reynolds Center on Aging, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. eva.hogervorst@pharm.ox.ac.uk



Parallel versions of memory tasks are useful in clinical and research settings to reduce practice effects engendered by multiple administrations. We aimed to investigate the usefulness of three parallel versions of ten-item word list recall tasks administered by telephone.


A population based telephone survey of middle-aged and elderly residents of Bradley County, Arkansas was carried out as part of the Rural Aging and Memory Study (RAMS). Participants in the study were 1845 persons aged 40 to 95 years. Word lists included that used in the telephone interview of cognitive status (TICS) as a criterion standard and two newly developed lists.


The mean age of participants was 61.05 (SD 12.44) years; 39.5% were over age 65. 78% of the participants had completed high school, 66% were women and 21% were African-American. There was no difference in demographic characteristics between groups receiving different word list versions, and performances on the three versions were equivalent for both immediate (mean 4.22, SD 1.53) and delayed (mean 2.35 SD 1.75) recall trials. The total memory score (immediate+delayed recall) was negatively associated with older age (beta = -0.41, 95%CI=-0.11 to -0.04), lower education (beta = 0.24, 95%CI = 0.36 to 0.51), male gender (beta = -0.18, 95%CI = -1.39 to -0.90) and African-American race (beta = -0.15, 95%CI = -1.41 to -0.82).


The two RAMS word recall lists and the TICS word recall list can be used interchangeably in telephone assessment of memory of middle-aged and elderly persons. This finding is important for future studies where parallel versions of a word-list memory task are needed. (250 words).

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