Validity of the Alien Cognitive Levels Assessment: A tri-ethnic comparison

Dawn I. Velligan, Janet E. True, Rochelle S. Lefton, Teresa C. Moore, Carmen V. Flores

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Schizophrenia is a mental illness which is characterized by severe cognitive deficits and impairments in adaptive functioning. The Alien Cognitive Levels (ACL) Assessment is a screening instrument designed to assess cognitive functioning and to aid clinicians in making judgments about how a patient will be able to perform basic activities of daily living. While the ACL has been widely used, the validity of ACL scores for predicting concurrent adaptive functioning has not been established empirically. The present study examined ACL scores in 110 schizophrenic patients. Scores on the ACL were found to be highly related to scores on the Functional Needs Assessment (r = 0.66), which measures a patient's ability to perform basic activities of daily living. Findings provided some of the first strong evidence that ACL scores reflect adaptive functioning. Correlations between the ACL and the Functional Needs Assessment were equally strong in non-Hispanic whites (n = 31, r = 0.67), Mexican-Americans (n = 58, r = 0.60), and African-Americans (n = 21, r = 0.46). Mean scores did not differ between patients from different ethnic groups. In addition, there was no relationship between ACL scores and level of acculturation within the Mexican-American group. Our data strongly support the hypothesis that the ACL provides a valid and culturally unbiased measure of cognitive functioning that can be helpful in determining how a patient is likely to perform activities of daily living.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-109
Number of pages9
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 27 1995


  • Adaptive function
  • Cognition
  • Cross-cultural
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


Dive into the research topics of 'Validity of the Alien Cognitive Levels Assessment: A tri-ethnic comparison'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this