Etherton, J. L., Bianchini, K. J., Ciota, M. A., & Greve, K. W. (2005). Reliable Digit Span is Unaffected by Laboratory-Induced Pain Implications for Clinical Use. Assessment, 12(1), 101.
Reliable Digit Span (RDS) is an indicator used to assess the validity of cognitive test performance. Scores of 7 or lower suggest poor effort or negative response bias. The possibility that RDS scores are also affected by pain has not been addressed thus potentially threatening RDS specificity. The current study used cold pressor-induced pain to investigate the effect of pain on RDS scores. Sixty undergraduate volunteers randomly assigned to one of three conditions (control, simulator, pain) completed the Digit Span subtext from the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III from which the RDS is derived. No differences in RDS scores were found between the control and pain groups, and neither group scored below 8. Sixty-five percent of the simulator group scored 7 or below. These results suggest that RDS is not affected by pain, and scores of 7 or less in persons with pain can be more confidently attributed to negative response bias. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved)