Screening for dementia of the Alzheimer type in the community: The utility of the Clock Drawing Test

Deborah Cahn-Weiner, David P. Salmon, Andreas U. Monsch, Nelson Butters, W. C. Wiederholt, Jody Corey-Bloom, Elizabeth Barrett-Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


This study reports the sensitivity and specificity of the Clock Drawing Test (CDT) for detecting dementia of the Alzheimer type in a community- dwelling sample of elderly subjects. Forty-two patients with clinically diagnosed Alzheimers's disease and 237 cognitively intact subjects were administered the CDT as part of an epidemiological study of aging and dementia. Three individual measures of clock drawing performance (quantitative score, qualitative score, and combined quantitative and qualitative score) were determined for each participant. When qualitative elements such as errors and strategies were incorporated into the CDT score, the sensitivity was 84% and the specificity was 72%. The findings suggest that a CDT score which evaluates qualitative and quantitative features provides reasonably good discrimination between normal elderly individuals and DAT patients. However, the CDT appears to have limited utility as a single screening instrument in the community. Instruments such as the Dementia Rating Scale (Mattis, 1976) provide better discrimination of DAT, indicating that functions such as memory and verbal fluency need to be assessed during screening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-539
Number of pages11
JournalArchives of Clinical Neuropsychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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