Performance validity in outpatients with multiple sclerosis and cognitive complaints

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Suboptimal performance during neuropsychological assessment renders cognitive test results invalid. However, suboptimal performance has rarely been investigated in multiple sclerosis (MS). Objectives: To investigate potential underlying mechanisms of suboptimal performance in MS. Methods: Performance validity testing, neuropsychological assessments, neuroimaging, and questionnaires were analyzed in 99 MS outpatients with cognitive complaints. Based on performance validity testing patients were classified as valid or invalid performers, and based on neuropsychological test results as cognitively impaired or preserved. Group comparisons and correlational analyses were performed on demographics, patient-reported, and disease-related outcomes. Results: Twenty percent displayed invalid performance. Invalid and valid performers did not differ regarding demographic, patient-reported, and disease-related outcomes. Disease severity of invalid and valid performers with cognitive impairment was comparable, but worse than cognitively preserved valid performers. Lower performance validity scores related to lower cognitive functioning, lower education, being male, and higher disability levels (p < 0.05). Conclusion: Suboptimal performance frequently occurs in patients with MS and cognitive complaints. In both clinical practice and in cognitive research, suboptimal performance should be considered in the interpretation of cognitive outcomes. Identification of factors that differentiate between suboptimal and optimal performers with cognitive impairment needs further exploration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13524585211025780
Early online date2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021


  • Multiple sclerosis
  • cognitive impairment
  • neuropsychological assessment
  • performance validity
  • suboptimal performance

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