Uses of the NIH Toolbox® in Clinical Samples: A Scoping Review

Rina S. Fox, Manrui Zhang, Saki Amagai, Adrianna Bassard, Elizabeth M. Dworak, Y. Catherine Han, Jessica Kassanits, Corinne H. Miller, Cindy J. Nowinski, Amy K. Giella, Jordan N. Stoeger, Kathleen Swantek, Julie N. Hook, Richard C. Gershon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background and ObjectivesThe NIH Toolbox® for the Assessment of Neurologic and Behavioral Function is a compilation of computerized measures designed to assess sensory, motor, emotional, and cognitive functioning of individuals across the life span. The NIH Toolbox was initially developed for use with the general population and was not originally validated in clinical populations. The objective of this scoping review was to assess the extent to which the NIH Toolbox has been used with clinical populations.MethodsGuided by the Joanna Briggs Methods Manual for Scoping Reviews, records were identified through searches of PubMed MEDLINE, PsycINFO,, EMBASE, and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global (2008-2020). Database searches yielded 5,693 unique titles of original research that used at least one NIH Toolbox assessment in a sample characterized by any clinical diagnosis. Two reviewers screened titles, abstracts, and full texts for inclusion in duplicate. Conflicts at each stage of the review process were resolved by a group discussion.ResultsUltimately, 281 publication records were included in this scoping review (nJournal Articles = 104, nConference Abstracts = 84, nClinical Trial Registrations = 86, and nTheses/Dissertations = 7). The NIH Toolbox Cognition Battery was by far the most used of the 4 batteries in the measurement system (nCognition = 225, nEmotion = 49, nMotor = 29, and nSensation = 16). The most represented clinical category was neurologic disorders (n = 111), followed by psychological disorders (n = 39) and cancer (n = 31). Most (96.8%) of the journal articles and conference abstracts reporting the use of NIH Toolbox measures with clinical samples were published in 2015 or later. As of May 2021, these records had been cited a total of nearly 1,000 times.DiscussionThe NIH Toolbox measures have been widely used among individuals with various clinical conditions across the life span. Our results lay the groundwork to support the feasibility and utility of administering the NIH Toolbox measures in research conducted with clinical populations and further suggest that these measures may be of value for implementation in fast-paced clinical settings as part of routine practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-319
Number of pages13
JournalNeurology: Clinical Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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