Reliability and validity of a motion-based reaction time assessment using a mobile device

Information processing speed is often altered following a concussion. Few portable assessments exist to evaluate simple reaction time (SRT) in hospitals and clinics. We evaluated the use of a SRT application for mobile device measurement. 27 healthy adults (age = 30.7 ± 11.5 years) completed SRT tests using a mobile device with Sway, an application for SRT testing. Participants completed computerized SRT tests using the Computerized Test of Information Processing (CTIP). Test–retest reliability was assessed using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) between Sway trials. Pearson correlations and Bland-Altman analyses were used to assess criterion validity between Sway and CTIP means. ICC comparisons between Sway tests were all statistically significant. ICCs ranged from 0.84–0.90, with p-values <.001. A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed no significant differences between trials (F3,104 =  1.35, p = .26. Pearson correlation between Sway and CTIP outcomes yielded a significant correlation (r = 0.59, p = .001). The mean difference between measurement methods was 43.7 ms, with limits of agreement between −140.8–53.4 ms. High ICC indicates Sway is a reliable method to assess SRT. A strong correlation and clinically acceptable agreement between Sway and the computer-based test indicates that Sway is suited for rapid administration of SRT testing in healthy individuals. Future research using Sway to assess altered information processing in a population of individuals after concussion is warranted.

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