Longitudinal study of neuropsychological functioning and internalizing symptoms in youth with spina bifida: Social competence as a mediator

Jaclyn M. Lennon*, Kimberly L. Klages, Christina M. Amaro, Caitlin B. Murray, Grayson N. Holmbeck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective To examine the longitudinal relationship between neuropsychological functioning and internalizing symptoms, as mediated by social competence in youth with spina bifida (SB). Methods A total of 111 youth (aged 8-15 years, M-11.37) with SB, their parents, and teachers completed questionnaires regarding attention, social competence, and internalizing symptoms. Youth also completed a battery of neuropsychological tests. Results An indirect-only mediation model revealed that social competence mediated the relation between neuropsychological functioning and subsequent levels of teacher-reported internalizing symptoms, but not parent or youth report of internalizing symptoms. Specifically, better neuropsychological functioning was associated with better social competence, which, in turn, predicted fewer internalizing symptoms 2 years later. Conclusions Youth with SB with lower levels of neuropsychological functioning may be at risk for poorer social competence and, as a result, greater internalizing symptoms. Interventions that promote social competence, while being sensitive to cognitive capacities, could potentially alleviate or prevent internalizing symptoms in these youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-348
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of pediatric psychology
Volume40
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Internalizing symptoms
  • Neuropsychological functioning
  • Social competence
  • Spina bifida

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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