Attention and Self-Concept in Adolescents with Spina Bifida

by Andrew S Preston

Institution: University of Florida
Department: Psychology, Clinical and Health Psychology
Year: 2007
Keywords: adolescence, attention, self, spina; Clinical and Health Psychology
Record ID: 1793368
Full text PDF: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0018122


Spina bifida is a neural tube defect that occurs in approximately 1 to 2 of every 2,000 live births in the United States and causes numerous physical and cognitive deficits. Due to improved medical treatments and high rates of long-term survival, health care providers are learning more about issues of adolescence and later adulthood. The current study compared young adolescents with spina bifida to healthy controls on measures of attention and self-concept. The current study is unique because it examined attentional performance while controlling for motor demands. Additionally, no studies to date have assessed the relationship between cognitive deficits and self-concept in this population. This study hypothesized that children with spina bifida would perform significantly lower on tests of selective attention, attentional control, sustained attention, and parent-reported attention, even after controlling for motor demands. A second hypothesis was that children with spina bifida would have less positive self-concept on academic performance, social relationships, and physical appearance. In addition, it was hypothesized that there would be significant relationships between performance on attentional tests and self-concept. Results demonstrated that after controlling for motor demands, adolescents with spina bifida performed worse than healthy controls on tests of sustained and selective attention, but not attentional switching. Additionally, parents rated adolescents with spina bifida as having more attentional problems than healthy controls. Adolescents with spina bifida reported significantly lower social, academic, and physical self-concepts. However, the hypothesized potential role of attentional problems in report of self-concept was not supported. These findings support prior research suggesting that adolescents with spina bifida have greater attentional deficits and lower self-concept. Future studies should continue to explore the potential relationship between attention and self-concept, including exploration of related constructs, such as self-awareness.