Objective: Although there is not a 1:1 correspondence between behavioral dysregulation and executive functions such as inhibitory control, planning or mental flexibility, we might expect that children with extreme behavioral dysregulation have deficits in these basic EF skills. The current study examined this relationship within a children's psychiatric inpatient setting. Method: A retrospective chart review was conducted for 50 children who received a neuropsychological evaluation during their psychiatric hospitalization. Behavioral dysregulation was operationalized as the number of holds, and the average amount of time spent in seclusions; both indicators of aggression and an inability to regulate behavior. Executive functioning was measured using the WCST, Trail Making Test, Rey Complex Figure Copy, Stroop task and CPT. Correlation and regression methods were conducted; t-tests were used to assess differences between children who experienced a hold and those who did not. Results: Nineteen children experienced one or more hold during their psychiatric hospitalization. Associations between behavioral dysregulation and executive dysfunction were assessed using correlations. The number of holds was only associated with Failure to Maintain Set errors on the WCST (r = .351, p= .017). Average time in seclusion was not significantly related to any measures of executive functioning. There were no significant differences in measured EF between children who were place in a hold and those who were not. Conclusion: Executive dysfunction alone was not associated with extreme behavioral dysregulation in a child inpatient setting. However it is likely that another variable such as demographic factors or trauma exposure moderates the link between EF and behavioral dysregulation; this possibility will be explored.
Executive Dysfunction and Severe Behavioral Dysregulation in a Child Psychiatric Inpatient Setting
L Haisley, J Dupont Frechette, B Kavanaugh, P Tellock, I Maher, K Holler; B-70
Executive Dysfunction and Severe Behavioral Dysregulation in a Child Psychiatric Inpatient Setting. Arch Clin Neuropsychol 2015; 30 (6): 548. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acv047.165
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