The Brief Smell Identification Test (BSIT) is a commonly used measure of olfactory functioning in elderly populations. Few studies have provided normative data for this measure, and minimal data are available regarding the impact of sociodemographic factors on test scores. This study presents normative data for the BSIT in a sample of English- and Spanish-speaking Hispanic and non-Hispanic Whites. A Rasch analysis was also conducted to identify the items that best discriminated between varying levels of olfactory functioning, as measured by the BSIT. The total sample included 302 older adults seen as part of an ongoing study of rural cognitive aging, Project FRONTIER. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that BSIT scores require adjustment by age and gender, but years of education, ethnicity, and language did not significantly influence BSIT performance. Four items best discriminated between varying levels of smell identification, accounting for 59.44% of total information provided by the measure. However, items did not represent a continuum of difficulty on the BSIT. The results of this study indicate that the BSIT appears to be well-suited for assessing odor identification deficits in older adults of diverse backgrounds, but that fine-tuning of this instrument may be recommended in light of its items difficulty and discrimination parameters. Clinical and empirical implications are discussed.
- Olfactory functioning