Test-Retest Reliability of the 5-Minute Psychomotor Vigilance Task in Working-Aged Females

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Journal of Neuroscience Methods




Elsevier BV

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Background The psychomotor vigilance task (PVT) is a commonly used test that effectively assesses neurobehavioral alertness. The originally developed PVT is 10minutes in duration, which presents practical and logistical issues, particularly when administered to large samples or on a repetitive basis. More recently the PVT has been used in both 3- and 5-minute formats. While both of these durations have been shown to be field sensitive to identify impairments from sleep- and fatigue-related interventions, the 5-minute version has been suggested to be more valid than the 3-minute. However, while these have shown field-validity in a number of working populations, there is a paucity of data reporting the test-retest reliability statistics of the 5-minute PVT, particularly in working-aged females. The purpose of the study was to examine the test-retest reliability of a comprehensive set of PVT variables for the 5-minute PVT in a population of working-aged females (20-63 years). New method Participants reported to the laboratory on two separate days and performed a 5-minute PVT on each occasion. Outcome measures included the mean raction time (MRT), fastest and slowest 10% of reaction times (F10RT% and S10RT%, respectively), standard deviation of reaction times (SDRT) as well as error-based metrics including major and minor lapses, anticipations, and false starts. In addition, total errors (ERR) were computed as a composite of all types of errors. Reliability statistics were reported as intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs), standard error of measurement (SEM, SEM%), and minimal difference to be considered real (MD, MD%). Systematic error was also evaluated between sessions. Results Overall high reliability was shown for the MRT (ICC =0.79, SEM% = 4.14%) and F10RT% (ICC =0.83, SEM% = 4.43%) variables, with moderate relative reliability (based on ICCs) for the false starts, ERR, and sleepiness scale (ICC = 0.50 - 0.70) variables but these all exhibited poor absolute reliability (based on SEM% values of 32.60 - 168.69%). Poor relative reliability was found for the SDRT and S10RT% variables (ICCs < 0.50) but the S10RT% variable had good absolute reliability (SEM% = 7.12%). The minor and major lapses and anticipations variables had too few of event occurences for a confident determination of the reliability. Conclusions The finding that the MRT variable displayed systematic error (P=0.01) indicating that a learning curve may have been present, but the F10RT% did not show systematic error, suggests the F10RT% may be the most reliable PVT variable in a 5-minute duration test. These findings provide researchers and practitioners with reliability statistics that may help in determining which variable(s) to use, and which to avoid when specifically conducting 5-minute PVT assessments, particularly in a population of working-aged females. These results suggest that the 5-minute PVT can be used in place of the 10-minute version, if used appropriately.

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