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 Decade: 2000-2009
 Degree Discipline: Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
Psychological Stress Reactivity and Recovery: The Role of Cognitive Appraisals, Ethnicity and Sex

Psychological Stress Reactivity and Recovery: The Role of Cognitive Appraisals, Ethnicity and Sex

Date: December 2009
Creator: Malhotra, Damini
Description: The aim of this research was to investigate the role of sex, ethnicity and cognitive appraisals, separately and in combination, on the physiological stress response. One hundred and eight undergraduate students from two North Texas universities participated in the study. They were subjected to a laboratory stressor and heart rate, peripheral temperature and cortisol levels were measured pre-, during-, and post- stressor. Perceived stress and cognitive appraisals were measured via self-report. Multivariate analysis of variance tests were conducted to analyze the main and interaction effects during baseline, reactivity and post-stress recovery. Results indicated some significant main effects for sex and ethnicity but no consistent pattern of results or interactions among variables were revealed. The study's implications and areas of future research are discussed.
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Cognitive Dysfunction in Middle-Aged Adults vs. Older Adults with Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Cognitive Dysfunction in Middle-Aged Adults vs. Older Adults with Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Date: August 2009
Creator: Dolan, Diana C.
Description: The presence of cognitive deficits in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is well-documented. Specifically, short- and long-term memory, attention/vigilance, and executive function (e.g. processing speed, mental flexibility, and problem solving) are affected. Cognitive deficits in aging occur in similar areas (i.e., memory and processing speed). Given that a greater percentage of older adults experience sleep-disordered breathing as compared to middle-aged adults, it is possible that OSA may account for some of the deficits typically attributed to aging. This study investigated this hypothesis by comparing middle-aged and older adults with and without OSA on computer-based measures of cognitive performance. No effect of OSA or an interaction between OSA and age on cognitive function was found; an effect of age on processing speed, distinguishing stimuli rapidly, attention, spatial ability/mental flexibility, and both working memory and short-term visual memory was found. This study also explored whether or not cognitive function may be improved in persons with OSA by re-assessing those participants one month after treatment. An effect of treatment on improvements on processing speed, distinguishing stimuli rapidly, mental flexibility, and short term memory was found. Overall, findings reflect the ability of treatment to improve cognitive function among OSA patients, regardless of lack of deficits ...
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Evaluation of skill maintenance, performance factors, and external validity in a behavioral parent training program.

Evaluation of skill maintenance, performance factors, and external validity in a behavioral parent training program.

Date: August 2009
Creator: Scherbarth, Andrew J.
Description: Child maltreatment affects 900 thousand children in the U.S. every year and impacts all areas of daily functioning. Behavioral parent training (BPT) programs have effectively taught parenting and demonstrated externally valid outcomes (i.e., lower recidivism rates). Skill maintenance assessments for BPTs have mixed results. The Behavior Management and Parenting Services (BMAPS) program has shown effective skill training for court-mandated families. This study assessed skill maintenance and performance factors that may have impaired parents using an ABAB single-case research design in Phase 1 & external validity with a survey in Phase 2. Results for Phase 1 found that most BMAPS parents acquired all parenting tools to criteria, dropped below criteria at the 3 month probe, then fully demonstrated their regained skills after a brief review. Psychological and classroom factors do not appear to have systematically influenced performance at any time, although homework completion was associated with better scores at the end of class. Phase 2 results found a 91% reunification rate and a 0% recidivism rate over 1-3 years. All limitations aside, it appears that the BMAPS program is able to effectively train skills to criteria and these skills can be sustained with a booster session. The vast majority of parents ...
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The relationship between racial discrimination induced anger and smoking among Black adolescents.

The relationship between racial discrimination induced anger and smoking among Black adolescents.

Date: August 2009
Creator: Miller, Aletha Rena
Description: This study explored whether a relationship exists between smoking behaviors and racial discrimination induced anger among Black adolescents. Participants consisted of 134 Black adolescents from 14 to 18 years of age who frequently visited a recreation center in the Northeast. Forty-four participants were males and 90 were females. All participants were administered a modified version of the CAGE questionnaire, a background information questionnaire, and a measure designed to assess the extent to which they feel angry because they had been discriminated against. Only age was found to be predictive of scores on the CAGE. Only gender was found to be predictive of smoking frequency. The Black Anger Measure (BAM) was significantly correlated with smoking behaviors. Some implications for theory, research and practice are suggested.
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Role of Parental Anxiety on Pediatric Feeding Disorders

Role of Parental Anxiety on Pediatric Feeding Disorders

Date: May 2009
Creator: Didehbani, Nyaz
Description: The proposed study examined the relationship between parental anxiety, measured both subjectively (via self-report questionnaires) and objectively (via salivary cortisol) and the child's feeding progress. Children diagnosed with a feeding disorder were recruited with their parents at Our Children's House at Baylor (n=19; 11 females, 8 males). The patients and their parents were housed in the clinic for an eight-week intensive multidisciplinary pediatric feeding disorder treatment program. Calorie intake was recorded daily as outcome measures of treatment progression. Parental anxiety was measured by the Pediatric Inventory for Parents (PIP), state anxiety on the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), and by salivary cortisol at three different time points. The present study attempted to examine whether parental feeding (phase three of treatment program) would continue to cause a decrease in the child's caloric intake. In averaging ten meals prior to parental feeding in comparison to the average of ten meals following parental feeding, there was no significant difference as measured by a t-test. Paired t-tests examined parental anxiety from time one to time two and found that salivary cortisol increased significantly t(15) = -6.07, p = .000 from Time 1 (M = 2.30, SD = 1.64) to Time 2 (M = 5.24, ...
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An item response theory analysis of the Rey Osterrieth Complex Figure Task.

An item response theory analysis of the Rey Osterrieth Complex Figure Task.

Date: December 2008
Creator: Everitt, Alaina
Description: The Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Task (ROCFT) has been a standard in neuropsychological assessment for six decades. Many researchers have contributed administration procedures, additional scoring systems and normative data to improve its utility. Despite the abundance of research, the original 36-point scoring system still reigns among clinicians despite documented problems with ceiling and floor effects and poor discrimination between levels of impairment. This study is an attempt to provide a new method based upon item response theory that will allow clinicians to better describe the impairment levels of their patients. Through estimation of item characteristic curves, underlying traits can be estimated while taking into account varying levels of difficulty and discrimination within the set of individual items. The ultimate goal of the current research is identification of a subset of ROCFT items that can be examined in addition to total scores to provide an extra level of information for clinicians, particularly when they are faced with a need to discriminate severely and mildly impaired patients.
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Neurocognitive implications of diabetes on dementia as measured by an extensive neuropsychological battery.

Neurocognitive implications of diabetes on dementia as measured by an extensive neuropsychological battery.

Date: December 2008
Creator: Harris, Rebekah Lynn
Description: Diabetes is a disease with a deleterious pathology that currently impacts 4.5 million individuals within the United States. This study examined the ability of a specific neuropsychological battery to identify and classify dementia type, investigated the impact of diabetes on cognition and analyzed the ability of the memory measures of the 7 Minute Screen (7MS) and the Rey-Osterrieth Recall to correctly categorize dementia type when not used in combination with a full battery. The battery in addition to exhaustive patient history, medical chart review and pertinent tests were used in initial diagnosis. Results indicated the battery was sufficient in the identification and classification of dementia type. Within the sample, diabetes did not appear to significantly impact overall battery results whereby only two measures were minimally affected by diabetes. Finally, the memory measures of the 7MS and the Rey-Osterrieth Recall were sufficient to predict membership into the Alzheimer's (AD) and vascular dementia (VD) groups with 86.4% accuracy. The classification percentage dropped to 68.3% with addition of the mild cognitive impairment category. The full battery correctly classified AD and VD dementia 87.5% and appeared to be the most robust.
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Neurocognitive Variables Underlying Group Performance on a Measure of Effort: The Medical Symptom Validity Test (MSVT)

Neurocognitive Variables Underlying Group Performance on a Measure of Effort: The Medical Symptom Validity Test (MSVT)

Date: December 2008
Creator: Covert, Julie Hart
Description: This study utilized the Medical Symptom Validity Test (MSVT) and a set of standard neuropsychological instruments to determine the underlying construct of the MSVT that accounts for effort in mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) patients by comparing/contrasting mTBI with dementia and an analog simulation. The results indicate that a common underlying neurocognitive construct (memory) exists between mTBI and dementia patients, which may account for poor effort as measured by the MSVT. Other underlying factors emerged for both groups, though they did not point to a common construct. This finding suggests that the overall effect of brain injury in neurologically impaired groups also impacts effort performance as measured by the MSVT. Similarly impaired performance patterns also emerged between mTBI and dementia groups in sub-groups that failed effort measures. Thus, failed effort tests may be a function of more pronounced deficits in these groups, rather than a function of effort. Finally, although similar effort profiles were noted between mTBI and analog simulators, the analog group was unable to mimic the neurocognitive effects of mTBI.
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Association between folate, vitamin B12 and cognitive performance in demented elderly.

Association between folate, vitamin B12 and cognitive performance in demented elderly.

Date: August 2008
Creator: Serova, Svetlana
Description: Dementia is prevalent among elderly people. As the world population ages, it is projected that the number of people affected by dementia may triple in the next 50 years. Over the last two decades, research has focused on identifying potentially modifiable risk factors in development and progression of dementia, such as vitamin B12 and folate. Results concerning the effects of low folate and vitamin B12 on cognitive performance are mixed. The main objective of the present study was to investigate the effects of vitamin deficiency on cognitive functioning in a clinical sample of elderly individuals with cognitive problems using a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment. A retrospective chart-review was performed on the 102 records of patients from the Geriatrics Clinic at the University of North Texas Health Science Center who presented with cognitive deficits. Charts were reviewed to obtain data on vitamin supplementation, vitamin status, history of chronic conditions and other biochemical data. The available database was used to obtain data on neuropsychological assessment. The study demonstrated mild association between vitamin B12 and folate status and cognitive deficits. There appeared to be a higher cut-off level that is above the traditionally used levels for vitamin B12 and folate deficiency concentrations at which ...
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The effectiveness of the Geriatric Depression Scale to distinguish apathy from depression in Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.

The effectiveness of the Geriatric Depression Scale to distinguish apathy from depression in Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.

Date: August 2008
Creator: Davis, Tommy E., Jr.
Description: Early detection of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related dementias in the elderly is critical for improving treatment methods and is a necessary component for improving public health interventions. One of the earliest and most common behavioral syndromes of AD is apathy and is associated with executive dysfunction. Apathy in AD is often misdiagnosed as depression due to an overlap in symptoms. Studies that have found depression to be associated with executive dysfunction have not always controlled for the presence of apathy. The Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) is a widely used instrument designed to assess depression in the elderly. This study utilized the GDS and a set of standard neuropsychological instruments to investigate the relationship between apathy, depression, and executive functions in individuals with AD and related dementias. The first objective of this study was to determine if apathy has a greater impact on executive functions compared to depression in AD and related dementias. The second objective was to determine the effectiveness of the GDS as a screen for apathy. The results of the analyses did not support the hypotheses. However, exploratory analyses suggested a possible non-linear relationship with apathy and various levels of dementia severity. Exploratory analysis also suggested mean ...
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries
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