Psychometric validation of a music-based attention assessment: Revised for patients with traumatic brain injury

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Background: An estimated 1.5 to 2 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year in the United States. Impairments in attention following TBI severely limit everyday functioning in a multifaceted manner. A precise assessment is critical in identifying the types of attention impairments and in recommending appropriate tasks to aid in attention rehabilitation. A Music-based Attention Assessment (MAA) was developed to fill this need and revised to reflect variations of attention ability that exist in the general population. Objective: The purpose of the study was to investigate the theoretically-based constructs of the Music-based Attention Assessment-Revised (MAA-R) using a factorial approach and to examine item properties and test reliability in relation to the exploratively-derived factor constructs. Methods: The MAA-R is a 54-item multiple-choice, melodic contour identification test, designed to assess three different types of auditory attention including sustained, selective, and divided attention. The psychometric validation of the MAA-R was conducted with healthy adults (n = 165) and patients diagnosed with a moderate to severe TBI (n = 22). Results: Exploratory factor analysis identified five factor constructs, including Sustained-Short, Sustained-Med to Long, Selective-Noise, Selective & Divided, and Divided-Long. After item elimination, the final 45-item MAA-R provided evidence of high internal consistency as computed by split-half reliability coefficients (r = .836) and Cronbach's alpha (α = .940). Conclusion: The aggregate findings suggest that the MAA-R is a valid and reliable measure that provides assessment information in regards to the different types of auditory attention deficits frequently observed in patients with TBI. Development and revision issues as well as the use of melodic contours in auditory attention assessment are discussed along with suggestions for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-92
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Music Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Assessment
  • Attention
  • Music
  • Test development and validation
  • Traumatic brain injury


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