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Title page for ETD etd-05212014-155451

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Evans, Lindsay Downs
Author's Email Address lindsay.evans@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-05212014-155451
Title Concurrent and Longitudinal Relations among Neurocognitive Functioning, Coping, and Depressive Symptoms in Youth
Degree PhD
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Judy Garber Committee Chair
Bruce Compas Committee Member
David Cole Committee Member
Linda Ashford Committee Member
  • Children
  • Executive Function
  • Depression
  • Coping
Date of Defense 2014-04-25
Availability unrestricted
The present longitudinal study examined the concurrent and prospective relations among the executive functions of working memory and cognitive flexibility, coping strategies, and symptoms of depression in children. Participants included 192 children between 9 and 15 years old (mean age = 12.36 years, SD = 1.77) recruited from local schools. Youth completed neuropsychological measures of working memory, cognitive flexibility, and intelligence, as well as self-report measures of executive dysfunction, coping, and depressive symptoms at two time points over four months. Linear regression analyses were used to examine direct associations between executive functions, coping, and symptoms of depression and a bootstrapping procedure was used to test indirect effects through coping. Deficits in working memory significantly predicted increases in depressive symptoms at follow-up. A significant prospective relation was found between cognitive flexibility and secondary control coping. Bootstrap analyses revealed that primary control coping strategies partially mediated the relation between working memory and depressive symptoms, and secondary control coping partially mediated the relation between cognitive flexibility and depressive symptoms. Thus, coping may be one potential pathway through which deficits in executive functioning contribute to children’s symptoms of depression.
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