The Assessment of Cognitive Inefficiency and its Psychiatric Correlates in a Child Sample

Simone D Hidary, Pace University


Cognitive efficiency is a construct that refers to one's ability to proficiently process novel information, allowing the individual to devote more cognitive resources to higher order processes, including reasoning and problem solving. The present study sought to explore the utility of the construct of cognitive inefficiency within a child psychiatric sample. The study examined the discrepancies between individuals' GAI, which represents their reasoning abilities, and CPI, a measure of their proficiency in processing cognitive information, on the WISC-IV and differences in individuals' performance across the CAS simultaneous and successive (labeled Processing) scales and the attention and planning scales (labeled Efficiency) which focus more specifically on cognitive efficiency. In addition, the relationship between cognitive efficiency and parent ratings of internalizing symptoms, externalizing symptoms, and symptoms of reality distortion was assessed using the Personality Inventory for Children - 2 (PIC-2) scales, in order to gain a better understanding of the utility of these measures within the psychiatric population. The sample was composed of 249 children (167 males, 82 females) between the ages of 6 and 12 (M = 10.05, SD = 1.91) who had been hospitalized on an inpatient psychiatric unit. A series of bivariate correlations were conducted to understand the relationship between WISC-IV and CAS factors and inefficiency scores, and parent ratings across the four symptom groups. In addition, regressions were carried out to determine the extent to which the GAI and CPI on the WISC, and Processing and Efficiency scores on the CAS predicted parent ratings of psychopathology. Results revealed that the overall efficiency scores of the WISC-IV and CAS shared 18% of the variance. This demonstrates that while the two measures are related and share some variability, overall, they are not entirely assessing the same construct. However, despite the relatively small shared variance, both measures seem to operate in the same way and demonstrate similar psychiatric correlates. With regard to the cognitive patterns associated with different psychiatric symptoms, the results varied across the symptom categories. The findings that examined the relationship between cognitive domains and parent ratings of depression demonstrated that there were no statistically significant relationships between WISC-IV and CAS factors or inefficiency scores and parent ratings of internalizing symptoms on the PIC-2. The analyses examining the relationship between cognitive variables and parent ratings of psychosis reveal that more general impairments in overall cognitive ability, rather than specific weaknesses in cognitive efficiency, predict higher parent ratings of symptoms of reality distortion. The results reveal that across the WISC-IV and CAS variables, children's reasoning abilities as assessed by the WISC-IV GAI, most strongly predict parent ratings of externalizing psychopathology. Limitations of the study and suggestions for future research are also discussed.

Subject Area

Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Hidary, Simone D, "The Assessment of Cognitive Inefficiency and its Psychiatric Correlates in a Child Sample" (2015). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3663336.



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