The Western Australia olfactory memory test: Reliability and validity in a sample of older adults
Archives of clinical neuropsychology: the official journal of the National Academy of Neuropsychologists
School of Medical and Health Sciences
McCusker Charitable Foundation / Australian Alzheimer’s Research Foundation / Edith Cowan University / Hollywood Private Hospital / Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital
Objective: The Western Australia Olfactory Memory Test (WAOMT) is a newly developed test designed to meet a need for a comprehensive measure of olfactory episodic memory (OEM) for clinical and research applications. Method: This study aimed to establish the psychometric properties of the WAOMT in a sample of 209 community-dwelling older adults. An independent sample of 27 test-naïve participants were recruited to assess test retest reliability (between 7 and 28 days). Scale psychometric properties were examined using item response theory methods, combined samples (final N = 241). Convergent validity was assessed by comparing performance on the WAOMT with a comprehensive neuropsychological battery of domains (verbal and visual episodic memory, and odor identification), as well as other neuropsychological skills. Based on previous literature, it was predicted that the WAOMT would be positively correlated with conceptually similar cognitive domains. Results: The WAOMT is a psychometrically sound test with adequate reliability properties and demonstrated convergent validity with tests of verbal and episodic memory and smell identification. Patterns of performance highlight learning and memory characteristics unique to OEM (e.g., learning curves, cued and free recall). Conclusion: Clinical and research implications include streamlining future versions of the WAOMT to ease patient and administrative burden, and the potential to reliably detect early neuropathological changes in healthy older adults with nonimpaired OEM abilities.