Bilingual Spanish Speakers Perform Significantly Better on ImPACT in English than Spanish

Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology -


Ott, S., M. Blake, E. Villanyi and P. Schatz.



Objective: Previous research demonstrated significantly better performance among independent groups of Spanish-speakers taking the ImPACT test in English versus Spanish, but these effects may be influenced by education. We sought to identify differences between Spanish versus English test administration of ImPACT in bilingual, English-Spanish-speaking college students taking the test in both languages. Method: Fifty-eight Spanish-speaking, bilingual college student volunteers completed the ImPACT test back-to-back, with a 5-minute break, counter-balancing order between English-Spanish and Spanish-English. Initial assessments were administered using “Baseline” test type, and second assessments using “Post-Injury 1”. Primary language of “Spanish” was listed in 70% of participants, but no significant differences were noted between “English” and “Spanish” as a primary language on any of the ImPACT composite scores. Results: MANOVA revealed a significant multivariate effect of language administration, F(5, 52) = 3.1, p = .01, η2 = .23, explained by significantly higher scores in the English administration on Verbal Memory (90.8% versus 87.8%, p = .013, η2 = .11) and Visual Motor Speed (39.5 versus 38.2; p = .011, η2 = .11). Conclusion(s): Bi-lingual Spanish-speaking college students scored significantly higher on Verbal Memory and Visual Motor Speed, when administered in English, regardless of self-reported primary language. These seemingly small but significant differences represent 1/3rd of the RCIs documented as evidence for Reliable Change for Verbal Memory in normal controls, and 50% of the RCI required for Visual Motor Speed, and should be considered when administering ImPACT to bilingual Spanish-speakers.

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