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Michael R. Kulfan is a 2013 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Seattle.

Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2013

Abstract

This study is a preliminary investigation of the validity of using time-based measures to quantify sustained attention in children ages 6-12. Problems with sustained attention negatively affect childhood learning and development. The prevalence of disorders known to impact sustained attention performance continue to rise in the United States. Currently, commercially available, objective measures of sustained attention use normative comparisons that provide limited information about the effect such problems have on child performance in natural settings. We reviewed test data from 290 charts of children ages 6-12 referred for neuropsychological evaluation. The Test of Everyday Attention for Children (TEA-Ch) is an ecologically oriented measure of attention; however, the test provides only normative data about child sustained attention. We examined the validity of two time-based scores derived from the Code Transmission subtest of the TEA-Ch. The Code Transmission Time on Task (CT-TOT) estimates the total time a child spends processing the subtest stimulus and the Code Transmission Longest Duration (CT-LD) estimates the maximum duration of a child's sustained attention before an attentional lapse. We correlated CT-TOT and CT-LD scores with age, criterion sustained attention measures from the TEA-Ch, and a measure of intelligence. Analysis of the data revealed significant differences in performance on the time-based measures by age-band. Correlations reached significance for both measures with the four criterion measures, with the CT-TOT achieving higher correlations with all criterion measures. Correlations were non-significant between both measures and intelligence. Overall, the findings of the present study suggest that the CT-TOT may provide additional, valid performance-based information about childrens' sustained attention that, to date, is missing from any commercially available measure of sustained attention for children. The electronic version of this dissertation is available in the open-access Ohiolink ETD Center www.ohiolink.edu/etd