Discriminative capacity and construct validity of the Clock Drawing Test in Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer's disease

Diana Duro, Sandra Freitas, Miguel Tábuas-Pereira, Beatriz Santiago, Maria Amália Botelho, Isabel Santana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to analyze the psychometric and diagnostic properties of the Clock Drawing Test (CDT), scored according to the Babins, Rouleau, and Cahn scoring systems, for Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) screening, and develop corresponding cutoff scores. Additionally, we assessed the construct validity of the CDT through exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis.

METHODS: We developed a cross-sectional study of ambulatory MCI and AD patients, divided in two clinical groups (450 MCI and 250 mild AD patients) and a normal control group (N = 400). All participants were assessed with the CDT, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) for convergent validity.

RESULTS: The selected scoring systems presented adequate validity and reliability values. The proposed cutoff scores showed 60 to 65% sensitivity and 58 to 62% specificity to identify MCI patients. The corresponding values for AD were 84 to 90% sensitivity and 76 to 78% specificity. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis revealed that the Babins scoring system had good construct validity and allowed us to propose a three-factor model for this system.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results confirmed the complexity of the CDT and support it as a cognitive screening instrument particularly sensitive to AD. The use of the CDT with MCI patients should be interpreted with more caution due to the lower sensitivity and specificity for milder forms of cognitive impairment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalThe Clinical neuropsychologist
Issue number7
Early online date13 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2019


  • Neuropsychological tests
  • cognitive screening
  • ; Mild Cognitive Impairment
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • ; exploratory factor analysis
  • confirmatory factor analysis


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