Validation of Oxford Cognitive Screen: Executive Function (OCS‐EF), a tablet‐based executive function assessment tool amongst adolescent females in rural South Africa

Kirsten Rowe, Mihaela Duta, Nele Demeyere, Ryan G. Wagner, Audrey Pettifor, Kathleen Kahn, Stephen Tollman, Gaia Scerif, Alan Stein
Published Online:
05 May 2021

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Short, reliable, easily administered executive function (EF) assessment tools are needed to measure EF in low‐ and middle‐income countries, particularly in sub‐Saharan Africa given the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)‐associated neurocognitive disorder. We administered Oxford Cognitive Screen—Executive Function (OCS‐EF) to 932 rural South African females (mean age 19.7 years). OCS‐EF includes seven tasks: two hot inhibition tasks (a modified Iowa Gambling Task, emotional go/no‐go) and five cool EF tasks, two switching tasks (visuospatial rule‐finding, geometric trails) and three working memory tasks (digit recall, selection and figure drawing). We performed confirmatory factor analysis testing whether a three‐factor, two‐factor hot‐cool, two‐factor working memory and inhibition/switching, or one‐factor EF model fitted the data better. The three‐factor (switching, inhibition and working memory) model had the best local and global fit (χ2 (11) 24.21, p = 0.012; RMSEA 0.036; CFI 0.920; CD 0.617). We demonstrated the feasibility of OCS‐EF administration by trained laypeople, the tripartite structure of EF amongst adolescent females and the factorial validity of OCS‐EF in this population and context. OCS‐EF tablet‐based cognitive assessment tool can be administered by trained laypeople and is a valid tool for assessing cognition at scale amongst adolescents in rural South Africa and similar environments.

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