Master of Arts (MA)
Researchers have shown that children with anxiety disorders perform worse on intelligence tests than children with no diagnosable disorders. At this point, two theories have been put forth to describe the direction of this relationship: anxiety results in lowered test performance, and underlying cognitive deficits result in the development of anxiety. Lowered test performance as a result of anxiety may either be due to attention-deficits due to state anxiety or anxiety-elicited difficulties with long-term retention and learning. The purpose of this study was to further examine the first theory: that clinical levels of anxiety can hamper intelligence test performance in children with anxiety disorders due to attention-deficits in the testing situation. Although anxious children were expected to perform worse at the beginning of testing than non-anxious controls, this discrepancy should have diminished over time as a result of habituation. This study drew from data collected at the Psychological Services Center at Louisiana State University as part of the child psychoeducational testing performed there. From an overall possible sample of 259, a total of 72 children (52% male) were identified as candidates for the current study. Subsequently, they were assigned to one of three groups based on their diagnostic profiles: Anxious Group (n=22), Control Group (n=30), or Comorbid Group (n=20). Contrary to the hypothesis, no differences were observed between children in the anxious, comorbid, and control groups on FSIQ. Further, no significant improvements were seen across subtests in the anxious group. The current findings suggest that habituation to the testing situation has no significant effect on anxious children’s performance on IQ tests. Suggestions for future studies and limitations are outlined in the discussion section.
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Noack, Franziska, "The effect of habituation and changes in cognition on anxious children's performance on the WISC-IV" (2014). LSU Master's Theses. 988.
Davis, Thompson E III