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Title: Internalising symptoms and executive function difficulties in adolescents with and without developmental coordination disorder
Author: Omer, Serif
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2018
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Background: There is growing evidence that individuals with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) experience elevated internalising symptoms and executive function (EF) difficulties compared to their typically developing (TD) peers. Research also suggests that EFs are important for psychological wellbeing. Aims: This study aimed to explore whether adolescents with DCD experience greater levels of internalising symptoms and everyday EF difficulties than their TD peers. It also explored whether EF difficulties mediate the relationship between DCD status and internalising symptoms. Methods and procedures: Fourteen adolescents with a diagnosis of DCD and 29 TD adolescents (ages 12-15) participated. A cross-sectional survey was conducted to collect parent-reported EF difficulties and self-reported internalising symptoms. Outcomes and results: Self-reported internalising symptoms and parent-reported EF difficulties were significantly higher in the DCD group compared to the TD group. A bias-corrected, bootstrapped mediation analysis identified that the effect of DCD on internalising symptoms was mediated by parent-reported EF difficulties. Exploratory analyses identified that this indirect effect was greatest for symptoms of depression through behavioural regulation difficulties. Conclusions and implications: These findings support previous research indicating that adolescents with DCD experience greater levels of internalising symptoms and EF difficulties than their TD peers. This highlights the need for increased awareness, routine screening, and intervention for mental health and EF difficulties in people with DCD. The findings also highlight the potential benefits of targeting EF deficits in people with DCD to improve emotional wellbeing. However, larger scale, longitudinal research is needed.
Supervisor: Leonard, Hayley Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral