Adaptation of the Behavioral Assessment and Research System (BARS) for evaluating neurobehavioral performance in Filipino children

Diane S. Rohlman, Esterlita Villanueva-Uy, Essie Ann M. Ramos, Patrocinio C. Mateo, Dawn M. Bielawski, Lisa M. Chiodo, Virginia Delaney-Black, Linda McCauley, Enrique M. Ostrea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Neurobehavioral tests have long been used to assess health effects in exposed working adult populations. The heightened concern over the potential impact of environmental exposures on neurological functioning in children has led to the development of test batteries for use with children. There is a need for reliable, easy-to-administer batteries to assess neurotoxic exposure in children. One such test battery previously validated with Spanish- and English-speaking children ages 4 and older, combines computerized tests from the Behavioral Assessment and Research System (BARS) with non-computerized tests. The goal of the present study was to determine the feasibility of using standardized neurobehavioral tests in preschool and school-aged Filipino children. Test instructions were translated into the vernacular, Tagalog or Tagalog-English ("Taglish") and some instructions and materials were modified to be appropriate for the target populations. The battery was administered to 4-6-year-old Filipino children (N = 50). The performance of the Filipino children was compared to data previously collected from Spanish- and English-speaking children tested in the US. The majority of children had no difficulty completing the tests in the battery with the exception of the Symbol-Digit test and Digit Span-reverse. The three groups showed similar patterns of performance on the tests and the older children performed better than the younger children on all of the tests. The findings from this study demonstrate the utility of using this test battery to assess cognitive and motor performance in Filipino children. Tests in the battery assess a range of functions and the measures are sensitive to age differences. The current battery has been utilized in several cultures and socio-economic status classes, with only minor modifications needed. This study demonstrates the importance of pilot testing the methods before use in a new population, to ensure that the test is valid for that culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-151
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • BARS
  • Children
  • Cross-cultural
  • Filipino
  • Neurobehavioral tests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Toxicology


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