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Type: Thesis
Title: Children with Sleep-Disordered Breathing and the Role of Attention in Executive Functioning Deficits
Author: Golley, Gemma
Issue Date: 2020
School/Discipline: School of Psychology
Abstract: Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is a common disorder found in children, with up to a third of children affected. SDB ranges from acute snoring to Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), characterised by partial or complete cessation of airflow in the upper airway during sleep. Neurocognitive deficits as a result of SDB in children have been extensively examined, particularly in relation to executive functioning. However, these findings are inconsistent and it is possible that underlying attentional deficits in SDB are the cause of reported executive dysfunction, rather than these being a direct result of SDB. Using previously collected data, this study’s focus is on whether attentional deficits play an underlying role in producing executive dysfunction. In the present study, children with SDB (18 males, 12 females, mean age, 8.30 ± 2.46 in years) and healthy matched control children (19 males, 21 females, mean age, 8.26 ± 2.15 in years) completed a battery of executive and attention tasks, as well as overnight monitoring of sleep. Despite deficits in planning ability and overall attention/executive performance amongst SDB children, there was no interaction between group and task (attention vs executive functioning), indicating that deficits in executive function are not likely the result of underlying attention problems. BMI z-score was a significant predictor of planning deficiency, alongside IQ to a lesser extent. This study offers a new perspective in the current conversation by expanding upon underlying mechanisms in children with SDB, and a deeper understanding on the individual characteristics that play a role in executive functioning deficits.
Dissertation Note: Thesis (B.PsychSc(Hons)) -- University of Adelaide, School of Psychology, 2020
Keywords: Honours; Psychology
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