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Title: Children's perspectives on cognitive assessment : a qualitative analysis of what children say about being tested
Author: Conniff, Harriet
ISNI:       0000 0004 2699 3397
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2008
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Every year, thousands of children are referred to psychologists for cognitive assessments yet how testing is experienced is under-researched. This study aimed to explore children's views on and understanding of cognitive assessment focusing on how they describe their experience of the WISC-IV. Interviews with eight children referred for cognitive testing in a paediatric setting were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Five main themes were generated. Overall there was a sense that reasons behind the process of testing were benign; to help with a problem or discover something wrong. Cognitive testing was seen as distinct from other testing experiences e.g. in hospital and school. Children described a mixed experience of cognitive testing which they experienced as unusual. This unusual experience was mainly related to the varied difficulty of tests both across and within sub-tests. Children found this difficult to manage. Elsewhere children seemed to appreciate qualities of the testgiver and described learning from the actual test experience. Not surprisingly, children described having mixed feelings related to testing. Children dealt with testing differently, some used humour and others dismissed the tests as easy or boring. Children appeared to normalise their experience by talking about testing as related to the known phenomena of school. Children's wider experiences of coping with hospital procedures seemed to mirror strategies they used to manage doing the cognitive assessment. This could perhaps indicate that the paediatric context of having cognitive assessments is protective. The paediatric context may limit the transferability of this study's findings. There was an overriding sense of uncertainty about testing including while undergoing the test and about what to expect before testing and how test results might impact on their lives. One means children seemed to manage this uncertainty was to position the test as powerful and trying to help. Children described having different needs for information about testing. The findings suggest that this should be explored with children before testing occurs. Further implications for research and practice are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available