Relationship Between Task-Based and Parent Report-Based Measures of Attention and Executive Function in Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)

Abstract

A majority of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) have demonstrated attention and executive function deficits as measured by both parent report measures and performance on tasks requiring sustained levels of attention. However, prior studies have consistently reported a lack of association between parental report-based and task-based performance measures. The current study investigated whether changes in performance over time within task (i.e., first-half versus second-half) better correspond to parental reports of executive function and temperament in children with FASD. Greater differences in split-half performance during a continuous performance task were found to be associated with higher parent-reported levels of behavioral regulation and inhibitory control. These findings suggest that within-task performance differences may more accurately reflect individual differences in executive function and temperament as measured by parental report and help to further inform the way in which cognitive processes are measured in children with FASD.

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Acknowledgments

We thank each of the families who participated in this research, Susan Astley Hemingway, director and founder of the FAS-DPN, as well as Beth Gendler, and the NeuDLL Lab members who contributed to data coding in support of these analyses: Emily Fowler, Emi Preston, Laura Cannon, and Claire Kozel.

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Funding

This research was supported by a University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute (ADAI) Small Grant, as well as by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health to ITHS under Award Number NIH UL1TR000423.

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Correspondence to Julia T. Mattson.

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This study was approved by the University of Washington Institutional Review Board, Human Subjects Division No. 48563.

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Mattson, J.T., Thorne, J.C. & Kover, S.T. Relationship Between Task-Based and Parent Report-Based Measures of Attention and Executive Function in Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). J Pediatr Neuropsychol (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40817-020-00089-0

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Keywords

  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
  • Sustained attention
  • Executive function
  • Task performance
  • Parental report
  • Temperament