A culturally fair test of processing speed: Construct validity, preliminary normative data, and effects of HIV infection on performance in South African adults.

Objectives: Impaired processing speed (PS) is a feature of cognitive profiles associated with neurological disorders particularly prevalent in low- or middle-income countries (LMICs). However, commonly used PS tests are not validated for use in LMICs. We assessed, using a sample of healthy South African adults, the construct validity of PS tests contained within NeuroScreen (a tablet-based application and test battery designed to be culturally fair), and established preliminary normative data for those tests (Study 1). Moreover, because South Africa has the highest population prevalence of people living with HIV and PS deficits are a core feature of HIV-associated cognitive impairment, we assessed whether NeuroScreen could detect PS impairment in a sample of HIV-infected South African adults (Study 2). Methods: In Study 1 (N = 112 healthy adults) and Study 2 (the Study 1 sample, plus n = 102 HIV-infected adults), we administered Neuroscreen and a standardized paper-and-pencil neuropsychological test battery. Results: In Study 1, factor analyses indicated that NeuroScreen PS scores loaded onto one factor and converged with scores on paper-and-pencil PS tests. Regression modeling indicated that age significantly predicted NeuroScreen PS performance (i.e., younger participants performed better). In Study 2, HIV-infected participants performed significantly more poorly on NeuroScreen PS tests than their HIV-uninfected counterparts. Moreover, a significantly larger proportion of HIV-infected participants displayed impaired PS when judged against the regression-based norms. Conclusions: These results suggest that NeuroScreen has cross-cultural utility in assessing adult PS performance, and that it might be useful in tracking trajectories of PS decline within HIV infection. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)