alexa Maltreatment is associated with specific impairments in executive functions: a pilot study.


Journal of Mental Disorders and Treatment

Author(s): Augusti EM, Melinder A

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Abstract Child maltreatment is associated with a host of adverse consequences. Few studies exist that map maltreated children's performance on neurocognitive tests particularly sensitive to brain and behavior associations. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether maltreated children differed in their executive functioning compared to their nonmaltreated peers, and if they did so in specific ways. Tasks aimed at measuring set shifting, spatial working memory, and inhibition were administered. Trauma-related symptomatology was further assessed to study the potential effect of maltreatment-related psychopathology on executive functioning. A univariate analysis of variance showed that maltreated children (n = 21) performed significantly poorer compared to their nonmaltreated peers (n = 22) on the Spatial Working Memory task. Symptoms of trauma-related psychopathology were not associated with performance on the executive functions tests. In conclusion, maltreatment was not associated with a global deficit in children's executive functions. Thus, when considering maltreated children's cognitive functioning, specific measures of executive functions should be applied. Copyright © 2013 International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. This article was published in J Trauma Stress and referenced in Journal of Mental Disorders and Treatment

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