Evaluation of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children and the Das -Naglieri: Cognitive Assessment System in association with internalizing and externalizing childhood psychopathology

Steven Joel Helfand, Pace University

Abstract

The accurate assessment of childhood psychopathology is critical for the school and child psychologist in developing treatment strategies. Efforts to identify subtypes of psychopathology have led to a classification system with two major categories, externalizing and internalizing. There is a long history of attempts to determine whether cognitive factors can aid in the differential diagnosis of psychopathology. Research with cognitive measures often includes the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Third Edition (WISC-III) to help determine associations with various types of childhood psychopathology. ^ This study examined whether children with the hypothesized cognitive indicators were associated with a specific psychopathology group. The sample of 60 children (40% female, 60% male) aged 6 to 12 were evaluated with the WISC-III in addition to a relatively new test of cognitive processing, the Das-Naglieri: Cognitive Assessment System (DN:CAS). Parents of the children participated by responding to the Devereux Scales of Mental Disorders (DSMD), thus yielding a measure of psychopathology. The primary purpose of the study was to determine the association between cognitive factors and type of psychopathology as measured by the DSMD. ^ Results revealed that the occurrence of the 6 hypothesized variables for externalizing psychopathology and the occurrence of the 6 hypothesized variables for internalizing psychopathology were not significantly associated with the presence of each type of psychopathology. Additional analysis revealed that the cognitive indicator of Simultaneous Processing from the DN:CAS when significantly greater than Verbal IQ from the WISC-III, was significantly associated with psychopathology. There were no significant findings due to age and gender. These data further reveal an extremely high correlation between the internalizing and externalizing scales of the DSMD, thus contributing to difficulty in distinguishing the psychopathology groups. ^ An important implication of this study is that the addition of a process based model of cognitive functioning in combination with the traditional model of intelligence did yield a significant association with psychopathology. The study also reflected the difficulty in distinguishing types of psychopathology due to comorbidity and measurement. Continued attention to children's cognitive patterns along with attention to accurately measuring psychopathology is suggested to build upon these findings. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical|Psychology, Psychometrics|Psychology, Cognitive

Recommended Citation

Steven Joel Helfand, "Evaluation of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children and the Das -Naglieri: Cognitive Assessment System in association with internalizing and externalizing childhood psychopathology" (January 1, 2001). ETD Collection for Pace University. Paper AAI3004069.
http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/dissertations/AAI3004069

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