Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Frank M. Webbe

Second Advisor

Richard T. Elmore

Third Advisor

A. Celeste Harvey

Fourth Advisor

Lisa A. Steelman


Objective: The present study was designed to establish Baseline concussion normative data for non-athlete students using the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT-5), Rey Word Recognition Test (RWRT), The A Random Letter Test of Auditory Vigilance (A-Test) and the Rey Dot Counting Test (DCT). The study considers the comparative differences when the non-athletes are told to complete the task to the best of their ability, to those who are told to perform poorly on purpose, and those who are instructed how to perform badly. Method: Sixty non-athlete students at Florida Institute of Technology volunteered in the study using the university’s online research system. For comparative purposes, a random sample of 20 student-athletes were selected so that their scores on the Baseline measurement could be contrasted with the Honest Effort and sub-optimal effort groups. The non-athlete participants were randomly assigned to either the Honest Effort group, Fake Bad group, or Coached Fake Bad group and the concussion Baseline protocol used on the student-athletes. Results: As predicted there were significant differences found between Honest Effort groups and sub-optimal performance group scores and typically there were no significant differences found between Baseline and Honest Effort scores. ROC analysis provided cut scores for the three measures of effort (DCT, RWRT, & A-Test) to allow examiners to compute scores which label athletes as having suspect effort. Conclusion: Overall, the measures used were found to be suitable indicators of sub-optimal performance in college athlete baseline concussion testing. Additionally, the study highlights strong predictors including Omission totals on the A-Test, the DCT combination score, RWRT combination score, the SCAT total symptoms reported and symptoms severity. The results also provide optimum cut scores to help examiners with suspect effort.


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