Date of Award

Fall 2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Fox, Robert A.

Second Advisor

Young, Terence J.

Third Advisor

Burkard, Alan W.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate neuropsychological factors related to performance on the Conners' Continuous Performance Test, Second Edition (CPT-II) among youth who met criteria for Conduct Disorder when compared to a control group of youth who did not meet criteria for Conduct Disorder (CD). The CPT-II is an instrument commonly used to assess for the presence of ADHD. Since research has shown a strong co-occurrence of CD with ADHD, with some authors reporting it to be as high as 90%, it was important to examine how a group of youth with CD would perform on this instrument and what characteristics of executive functioning might influence these results. The CPT-II performance of 34 youth with CD was compared to that of 35 youth who were members of the control group. The presence of CD was determined using the criteria for this disorder identified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR, 2000). The principal investigator interviewed consenting youth and parents, seeking endorsement of the symptoms of CD from either person, as well as further demographic information before administration of the CPT-II. Initially, seven indices were examined for statistical significance. However, the remaining six indices of the CPT-II were also examined in a secondary analysis to obtain additional support for the findings from the analysis of the research questions. Statistical significance was found between the two groups on the ADHD Confidence Index, Omission Index, Hit Reaction Time-Standard Error Index, Variability, and Hit Reaction Time Block Change Index. Associations were posited regarding the relationship of these indices and the following areas related to executive functioning: inattention, concentration, self-monitoring, and delay of gratification. These results seemed related to not attending to details, low motivation, and quickly dismissing tasks that were not of interest to the youth with CD. Areas for future research and treatment implications were presented.

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