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EBP Compendium: Summary of Systematic Review

A Meta-Analytic Review of Verbal Fluency Performance in Patients with Traumatic Brain Injury

Henry, J. D., & Crawford, J. R. (2004).
Neuropsychology, 18(4), 621–628.

Indicators of Review Quality:

The review addresses a clearly focused question No
Criteria for inclusion of studies are provided Yes
Search strategy is described in sufficient detail for replication Yes
Included studies are assessed for study quality No
Quality assessments are reproducible Yes*

Description: This is a meta-analysis of studies investigating the sensitivity of tests of verbal fluency to the presence of traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Question(s) Addressed:

Question not specifically stated.

Population: Adults with TBI

Intervention/Assessment: A measure of phonemic or semantic fluency

Number of Studies Included: 30

Years Included: 1986–2002



  • Assessment/Diagnosis
    • Assessment Areas & Assessment Instruments
      • Cognitive-Communication
        • The authors conclude that “the presence of TBI was associated with comparable deficits on tests of phonemic and semantic fluency” (p. 625) which is suggestive of impaired executive function.
        • Individuals with traumatic brain injury scored significantly lower on phonemic and semantic fluency tests in comparison to healthy controls.
        • “The phonemic fluency deficit could not be accounted for by level of pre-morbid IQ or current verbal IQ” (p. 627). Additionally phonemic fluency deficits were “substantially (although not significantly) in excess of the deficit on a measure of psychometric speed” (p. 627).
        • The authors also found phonemic fluency to be “more sensitive to the presence of TBI” (p. 627) than the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. 

Keywords: Brain Injury

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*Additional details for the review are provided on the APA website.

Added to Compendium: August 2010

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