Abstract

Objective: The Key Search, a subtest within the Behavioral Assessment of Dysexecutive Syndrome battery, is purported to assess planning and problem solving. However, evidence supporting the interpretability of performance on the Key Search is limited. This study evaluated the construct validity of the Key Search in neurologically healthy adults. Method: A diverse sample of healthy adults (n = 101) was administered a comprehensive neuropsychological battery. Between-measure correlations and exploratory factor analysis (EFA) were used to evaluate construct validity of the Key Search's total score (TS) and total time (TT) measures. Results: Covariate analyses revealed small correlations between the Key Search TS, but not TT, and 3 of 10 executive functioning (EF) measures: the D-KEFS Trail Making Test, Switching Condition (r = .259, p = .009), Symbol Digit Modalities Test (r = .25, p = .013), and the D-KEFS Color-Word Interference Test, Inhibition/Switching (r = .217, p = .039). Discriminant analyses revealed no correlation between measures of non-verbal memory, visuospatial reasoning, or literacy (p > .05). An EFA of EF measures revealed a 3 component item structure (Eigenvalues > 1), accounting for 43% of the total variance. Key Search TS loaded on the executive control/working memory factor (Factor 1: .508). Key Search TT measure loaded minimally on the inhibitory control factor (Factor 2: .354). Neither loaded on the planning factor (Factor 2). Conclusion(s): Interpretability of the Key Search as a measure of planning and problem solving was not supported; however, the Key Search TS appears to measure other aspects of EF. Future studies should assess the Key Search's construct validity in clinical samples.