ALSPAC – Focus on Mothers 2 – Spot The Word

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The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) assessed study mothers during the study’s second ‘Focus on Mothers’ clinic using a Spot The Word measure.

The study of ALSPAC study mothers began in 2008 with the aim of determining what factors are related to body size, bone density, blood pressure, glucose, insulin and abnormal blood lipids in women. This ‘Focus on Mothers’ (FOM) study consisted of four clinics held during the following periods: i) 2008 – 2011, ii) 2011 – 2013, iii) 2013 – 2014, and iv) 2014 – 2015. Each clinic lasted approximately 2.5 hours. For further details see Fraser et al. (2012). Along with various physical measures, measures of cognitive ability/functioning were collected at clinics FOM2, FOM3, and FOM4.

Details on the Spot The Word measure administered as part of FOM2 are outlined in the table below.


Domain:Reading ability
Measures:Reading comprehension
Reading decoding
CHC:Grw (Reading/writing)
Administration method:Trained interviewer; face to face; clinical setting; pen and paper task
Procedure:The participant was presented with a list of word-pairs. Each pair consisted of a real word, and a non-word. Participants were instructed to work through the pairs, placing a tick beside the real word in each pair. The participant was given a practice list before the real trial. If the participant spent too long deliberating over a pair, they were prompted to guess.
Link to questionnaire:http://www.bristol.ac.uk/alspac/researchers/our-data/clinical-measures/ (opens in new tab)
Scoring:One point for each correct item
Item-level variable(s):Not readily available
Total score/derived variable(s):fm2cg012
Descriptives:Raw score
N = 2,939
Range = 0 - 60
Mean = 43.92
SD = 7.60
(click image to enlarge)
Age of participants (years):Mean = 50.81, SD = 4.41, Range = 36.83 - 65.66
Other sweep and/or cohort:ALSPAC – Focus on Mothers 3 – Spot The Word
ALSPAC – Focus on Mothers 4 – Spot The Word
Source:Baddeley, A., Emslie, H., & Nimmo-Smith, I. (1993). The Spot-the-Word test: A robust estimate of verbal intelligence based on lexical decision. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 32(1), 55-65.
Technical resources:None
Reference examples:Anderson, E. L., Heron, J., Ben-Shlomo, Y., Kuh, D., Cooper, R., Lawlor, D. A., ... & Howe, L. D. (2017). Adversity in childhood and measures of aging in midlife: Findings from a cohort of British women. Psychology and Aging, 32(6), 521-530.

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This page is part of CLOSER’s ‘A guide to the cognitive measures in five British birth cohort studies’.