Between-site reliability of startle prepulse inhibition across two early psychosis consortia

Kristin S. Cadenhead*, Jean Addington, Tyrone D. Cannon, Barbara A. Cornblatt, Camilo de la Fuente-Sandoval, Dan H. Mathalon, Diana O. Perkins, Larry J. Seidman, Ming Tsuang, Elaine F. Walker, Scott W. Woods, Peter Bachman, Ayse Belger, Ricardo E. Carrion, Franc C. L. Donkers, Erica Duncan, Jason Johannesen, Pablo Leon-Ortiz, Gregory Light, Alejandra MondragonMargaret Niznikiewicz, Jason Nunag, Brian J. Roach, Rodolfo Solis-Vivanco

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Prepulse inhibition (PPI) and reactivity of the acoustic startle response are widely used biobehavioral markers in psychopathology research. Previous studies have demonstrated that PPI and startle reactivity exhibit substantial within-site stability; however, between-site stability has not been established. In two separate consortia investigating biomarkers of early psychosis, traveling participants studies were carried out as a part of quality assurance procedures to assess the fidelity of data across sites. In the North American Prodromal Longitudinal Studies (NAPLS) consortium, eight normal participants traveled to each of the eight NAPLS sites and were tested twice at each site on the startle PPI paradigm. In preparation for a binational study, 10 healthy participants were assessed twice in both San Diego and Mexico City. Intraclass correlations between and within sites were significant for PPI and startle response parameters, confirming the reliability of startle measures across sites in both consortia. There were between-site differences in startle magnitude in the NAPLS study that did not appear to be related to methods or equipment. In planning multisite studies, it is essential to institute quality assurance procedures early and establish between-site reliability to assure comparable data across sites.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)626-630
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • endophenotype
  • prepulse inhibition
  • reliability
  • startle

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