Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Graduate Psychology


Bernice Marcopulos


Approximately 25% of children in the United States will witness or experience a traumatic event before age 4, and individuals with a history of trauma, particularly traumatic events in childhood, have a much higher likelihood of developing psychopathology in adulthood. Prior research indicates that the vast majority of individuals with a serious mental illness, particularly those in community mental health centers and psychiatric inpatient settings, have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. These individuals require special consideration in treatment planning, and a large range of neurodevelopmental and environmental factors must be taken into account when interpreting results of neuropsychological assessment. The current study examines the impact of both “dynamic” factors such as age and diagnosis as well as “static” factors such as trauma history and IQ on performance on two executive functioning measures in a psychiatric inpatient population. Results suggest that while performance is impacted by IQ for executive functioning assessments as a whole, factors such as a history of trauma, the type of traumatic events experienced, psychosis, and the presence of secondary gain may differentially impact performance depending on the specific cognitive functioning abilities being assessed (e.g., basic versus executive).