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Title: A neuropsychological investigation of non-clinical anxiety levels and information processing speed in ageing, subjective and objective cognitive functions
Author: Basoudan, Nasreen S.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7657 7308
Awarding Body: Swansea University
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2018
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The speed at which an individual processes information, also referred to as reaction time (RT), is associated with attentional function and is commonly used as a measurement in the diagnosis of age related neurodegenerative disorders and commonly employed in ageing studies. In spite of the common use of information processing speed (RT) in ageing studies and as a diagnostic tool in neurodegenerative disorders, there is a lack of consensus regarding the most appropriate tests to use in the measurement of RT and a lack of consideration when it comes to both methodological and person-related factors that could influence test results. Still further, there is a marked lack of consideration of the idea that these tests may return different results between young adults and older adults, decreasing the overall reliability of the tests themselves. The purpose of the study was to complete an analysis of the test results of multiple RT tests in order to identify whether the study outcome of reaction time and its variability (intra-individual variability or IIV) in young adults and older adults was associated with the methodological factors of the type of test used to measure RT (and thus attentional function measured), the number of trials used and the participant hesitancy in responding; or whether variation occurred within test results due to non-clinical levels of anxiety experienced by the participant, and in relation to the possible/potential related factors, such as non-clinical depression levels, objectively measured general cognitive function, subjective memory function and educational level, sleep and sex. In the completion of the different phases of testing, analysis of the results showed that, in general, RT was slower, and IIV was greater, among older adults, as compared to the results obtained from the young adult group (in all tasks used). Levels of non-clinical anxiety were significantly higher in younger adults as compared to older adults. Although non-clinical anxiety levels could be linked with RT and IIV measures, the results varied concerning the task used, suggesting that this variability in result had to do with task type. Non-clinical levels of anxiety were correlated to sleep quality in specific areas for both younger and older adults, and that relationship was associated with RT, IIV, and attentional-related function in the completion of certain tasks or test types. These Ph.D. research findings may assist in improving clinical practice through the creation and integration of future evidence-based research practices.
Supervisor: Tales, Andrea ; Izura, Cristina Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral