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Title: The impact of executive functioning on attention to threat in an adult traumatic brain injury population : an experimental group design
Author: Keay, Stephanie
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 7099
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2017
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Objective: to explore the impact of executive function (EF) on emotional distress in an adult traumatic brain injury (TBI) population. Methods: A systematic review of the literature was conducted using electronic databases and the reference section of relevant papers to determine whether impaired EF acts as a vulnerability factor to emotional distress. Alongside this an experimental group design was utilised to explore whether selective attention to threat differs between a TBI group (n = 18, impaired EF) and a comparison group (n = 34, EF intact). Participants completed measures of EF, emotional distress and the dot-probe task. Results: The systematic review found 10 studies which met the inclusion criteria, of which, eight studies were rated as methodologically ‘poor’ and two were rated as ‘fair’ in response to the review aims. Seven of the studies reported associations between EF and emotional distress but none of the studies addressed the question directly and were unable to provide evidence of EF as a vulnerability factor. After analysis, the research paper found no significant differences between the reaction times to the threat stimuli in EF intact (comparison group) versus the EF impaired (TBI group). Therefore the hypotheses were not supported. Conclusions: The research contained in the thesis portfolio has highlighted the need for more research to be carried out into EF processes and the particular impact these deficits have on emotional outcomes in a TBI sample. Previous research has suggested an association between EF and emotional distress, and the current systematic review only provided weak evidence to support this. The processes behind this are still not fully understood. By gaining a deeper understanding of these processes, it is hoped that this could inform the development of potential interventions to best suit the needs of the TBI population.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available