Reliable change in pediatric brain tumor: A preliminary investigation

Thomas A. Duda, M. Douglas Ris, Keith Owen Yeates, E. Mark Mahone, Jennifer S. Haut, Kimberly P. Raghubar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Children treated for brain tumor show evidence of declines in general intellectual abilities (i.e., IQ). Group-level data indicate subtle declines over time on average, but no study has utilized a clinical criterion to identify and describe a reliable change in survivors of pediatric brain tumor (PBT). In this study, we discuss the utility of reliable change index (RCI) methodology to supplement group-level analysis (e.g., repeated measures ANOVA). This pilot sample consisted of 22 children (M age = 10.47 years) treated for PBT who completed initial and follow-up assessments (M interval = 23.58 months). Cognitive data included composite scores from the WISC-IV. An RCI z-score was calculated for each participant on each composite score based on two different test–retest reliability coefficients. As a group, survivors of PBT did not demonstrate a statistically significant change from initial to follow-up on any WISC-IV composite score. When RCI was calculated based on reliability coefficients with shorter test–retest intervals provided by the test publisher, 77% of survivors demonstrated a reliable change in performance on at least one measure. The frequency of RCI decreases in working memory was significantly higher than expected. In contrast, only 32% of survivors showed reliable changes on at least one measure when RCI was based on a reliability coefficient derived from a clinical sample with a longer retest interval. This study demonstrates that highly divergent results may be obtained with RCI and the importance of the source of reliability estimates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-26
Number of pages12
JournalChild Neuropsychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2020


  • Pediatric
  • WISC
  • brain tumor
  • intelligence
  • reliable change index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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