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Association Between Cognition and Depression: A Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Study of Individuals with Learning Disabilities.

Description: Over the past twenty years the number of children identified with learning disabilities has risen drastically. In addition, 26 - 40% of these children also experience depression. While cognitive functioning has been demonstrated to be associated with depression, it is unclear whether the mood, vegetative, or cognitive symptoms of depression predict particular cognitive processes and vice versa. The purpose of this study was to determine which particular cognitive processes were associated with specific depressive symptoms and depression as a whole. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was conducted to test a model which examined how three cognitive processing factors (verbal & visual reasoning, and attention/working memory) were associated with three depressive symptom factors (disturbances in mood, vegetative, and cognitive functioning). The data for SEM came from a large data set of children with learning disabilities (n=227). Model fit results supported the proposed model, and a significant association was found between the attention/working memory factor and the depression symptom factor reflecting disturbances in cognitive functioning. Less robust relationships were observed between verbal reasoning and cognitive depressive symptoms and an approach toward the conventional level of significance was noted between visual reasoning and cognitive depressive symptoms. Using a sub-sample of original participants who were re-evaluated 20-25 years later (n=40), longitudinal analyses were conducted to determine the predictive power of cognitive functioning and depression over time. There was some indication for the predictive power of visual reasoning performance in childhood on mood symptoms of depression in adulthood. The most robust association at both time 1 and time 2 was between attention/working memory performance and cognitive symptoms of depression. However, the association appeared to be time specific and not predictive.
Date: August 2003
Creator: Schraufnagel, Caitlin D.

The Detection of Neuropsychological Malingering

Description: The present study compared the responses of a group of simulating malingerers who were offered a monetary incentive to feign symptoms of a head injury, with the responses of head injured groups both with and without litigation, a forensic parole group, and an honest-responding control group. The following six neuropsychological measures were utilized: Rey 15-Item Memory Test, Controlled Oral Word Association Test, Finger Oscillation Test, WAIS-R Neuropsychological Instrument (Vocabulary, Information, and Similarities subtests), Booklet Category Test, and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. The statistical concepts of floor effect, performance curve, and magnitude of error were examined. Additionally, the statistical differences in the responses of the five groups were analyzed to determine cutting scores for use in distinguishing malingerers from nonmalingerers.
Date: August 2003
Creator: Liff, Christine D.

The Effects of Assessment Context on State Anxiety and a Neuropsychological Model of Attention

Description: This study investigated the effects of assessment context on state anxiety and attention according to the Mirsky (1996) model of attention. Context varied in the physical testing environment, demeanor of the assessor, and explanation of the purpose of testing. A relaxed condition (RC) and structured medical condition (SMC) distinction was made prior to data collection and the two contexts were designed to reflect contrasting practices of neuropsychologists. Elements of attention evaluated included Encoding (Digit Span), Focusing/Executing (Visual Search and Attention Test), Shifting (Wisconsin Card Sorting Test: Computerized Version 2), Sustaining, and Stabilizing (Continuous Performance Test-Identical Pairs). Eighty healthy adult females participated in the study. The findings suggest that the SMC caused higher levels of anxiety and lower valence than the RC, which in turn caused poorer sustained attention and superior shifting attention for this condition. Such interpretations are consistent with several theories on the effects of anxiety on attention. It should be noted, however, that differences observed in attention were limited to select measures. Factor analysis also indicates that the encode, shift, and sustain elements of attention were largely consistent with the factor solution proposed by Mirsky, while findings on the focus/execute and stabilize elements bring into question the construct validity of these aspects of the model. Findings from the study are considered relevant to those interested in attention theory and particularly researchers and clinicians involved in the administration of neuropsychological testing.
Date: August 2003
Creator: Greher, Michael R.

Investigating patterns among demographics, identification practices, interventions, and educational outcomes for students with serious emotional disturbance.

Description: This study explored potential patterns of association among the demographic characteristics, identification practices, educational interventions, and educational outcomes for students with serious emotional disturbance (SED) as well as specifically investigated the impact of age at identification with SED and the presence of co-occurring disabilities. Data was gathered from the educational records of students with SED in seven rural to semi-rural districts in Texas. Demographic information included gender, ethnicity, age at identification with SED, and identification with co-occurring disabilities. Identification variables that were investigated include the five federal qualifying criteria for SED, IQ score, and BASC and/or CBCL scores. Intervention variables that were explored included placement setting, restrictiveness of placement setting, type of related services provided, parental attendance at multidisciplinary team meetings, number of multidisciplinary team meetings, and total time spent in special education as a student with SED. Outcome variables that were examined included achievement levels in reading and math, attendance, special education status, and grade retention. Results suggested that earlier identification with SED is related to placement in less restrictive settings, achievement within two years of grade level in reading, and lower average number of absences. The presence of co-occurring disabilities in addition to SED is associated with placement in more restrictive settings and with achievement that is two or more years below grade level in reading and math. Additional findings and implications for future research as well as for current practice are discussed.
Date: August 2003
Creator: Gonzalez, Christine

Predicting termination and continuation status in shelter programs using the Transtheoretical Model with Hispanic battered women.

Description: This study tested the applicability of the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change in predicting early termination, appropriate termination, and ongoing treatment of Hispanic battered women residing at domestic violence shelters. Self-efficacy, decisional balance, and acculturation were examined in relation to the applicability of this model with the Hispanic women population. One hundred and eight women residing in two shelters for survivors of domestic violence, located in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, were asked to provide information regarding the problems in their relationships, the pull and the strain of their relationship, their level of temptation to stay in the abusive relationship, and how confident they felt that they would not return to their abuser (The Process of Change in Abused Women Scales- PROCAWS). In addition, the women were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding their level of acculturation. This study confirmed the stage of change profiles found in a population of battered women as well as in other clinical populations and the results suggest that this model is applicable to Hispanic populations. The results indicated that the women in this sample could be meaningfully grouped according to their level of involvement in different stages of change. Furthermore, this study provided support for the validity of this theory by finding significant relationships among the profiles of change and the intervening variables that moderate movement across the stages of change. The women in this study differed with regard to their level of temptation to stay in their relationships and the amount of cons they to making changes. The findings also confirmed that the Transtheoretical Model can be used to predict termination status from domestic violence shelter programs. Although there were no significant differences in termination status among the women with different stage of change profiles, a trend existed that women in earlier stages of ...
Date: August 2003
Creator: Weisz, Adriana V.

Pregnancy Loss: Disenfranchised Grief and Other Psychological Reactions

Description: It is widely acknowledged in the literature that grief is most intense when it is experienced by parents whose children have died. However, as recently as 20 years ago, mothers whose children died at birth or before the pregnancy had reached full term were often dismissed as merely medical patients, and their psychological reactions were not considered or acknowledged by professionals, their friends, or their families. More recently fields such as psychology have recognized that women who have experienced pregnancy loss have complex psychological reactions to their loss. The present study examined the patterns of grief of women who have had a pregnancy end in spontaneous abortion or stillbirth and the ways in which these women gave meaning to their experiences. Participants were asked to complete several measures including the Perinatal Grief Scale (PGS), the Hogan Grief reaction Checklist (HGRC), the Perceived Social Support Scale (PSS), and the Inventory of Social Support (ISS). The participants also wrote a narrative account of their loss experience. These narratives were content analyzed to delineate common themes. The findings indicated several important factors which may be useful in understanding and assisting in post-loss adjustment.
Date: August 2003
Creator: Clower, Christen E.

Psychopathy Symptom Profiles and Neuropsychological Measures Sensitive to Orbitofrontal Functioning

Description: This study analyzed the relationship between the OF functioning of 100 incarcerated male offenders and their psychopathy symptoms. The study's rejected hypothesis had predicted a significant relationship between measures of OF functioning and the Defective Affective Experience (DAE) and Impulsive and Irresponsible Behavioral Style (IIB) factors of the Cooke and Michie (2001) three-factor model of psychopathy. Regression analysis failed to demonstrate a relationship between OF functioning and the DAE and IIB factors. Group differences on OF functioning were not demonstrated between participants in the upper and lower quartiles of a summed DAE and IIB factor score. A general role for OF functioning in criminal behavior was suggested as two OF measures accounted for 14.9% of the variance of criminal convictions.
Date: August 2003
Creator: Wodushek, Thomas R.

Trauma Responses, Abuse History, and Exposure to Violence as Risk Factors in Adolescent Sex and Non-Sex Offenders

Description: Several risk factors have been identified for adolescent sex offenders and non-sex offenders. Such risk factors include physical and/or sexual abuse, and exposure to community and/or domestic violence. Additionally, the presence of disinhibitive factors, such as substance use and exposure to violent or pornographic media are also commonly reported in the backgrounds of both sex and non-sex offenders. Similarly, adolescent offenders have reported traumatic reactions to environmental factors such as abuse and violence. Similarities in exposure to the risk and disinhibitive factors described above between adolescent sex and non-sex offenders do not provide an explanation for why some adolescents commit sex offenses, whereas other adolescent offenders do not. This study investigated the discriminative ability of traumatic reactions as a risk factor between male adolescent sex and non-sex offenders. The inclusion of traumatic reactions increased the accuracy of risk factors distinguishing between sex and non-sex offenders. Thus, not only the presence of risk factors, but also the adolescent's reaction to the risk factors, are important predictors of whether he will commit a sexual offense.
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Date: December 2003
Creator: Briley, Joshua Paul