Joan Toglia, Christine Berg; Performance-Based Measure of Executive Function: Comparison of Community and At-Risk Youth. Am J Occup Ther 2013;67(5):515–523. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2013.008482
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© 2019 American Occupational Therapy Association
OBJECTIVE. We compared abilities and strategy use of at-risk youth aged 16–21 yr with those of a community sample of high school students using a performance measure of executive function, the Weekly Calendar Planning Activity (WCPA).
METHOD. We recruited students from an alternative school for at-risk youth (n = 113) and from community high schools in the same region (n = 49). We collected demographic information from and administered the WCPA to both groups.
RESULTS. The at-risk group made more errors, used fewer strategies, and broke more rules than the community group; however, the groups were similar in average time for planning and task completion. Moderate relationships were found between WCPA and academic performance in the at-risk group.
CONCLUSION. Comparison of at-risk and community youth provides support for discriminant validity of the WCPA and indicates that the WCPA is useful in identifying adolescents who are at risk for occupational performance deficits.
Executive cognitive difficulties, including low levels of self-monitoring and ineffective strategy use, may contribute to occupational performance deficits in at-risk youth and therefore deserve the attention of occupational therapy practitioners.
Our preliminary data on typical adolescent performance on the WCPA in community high school students provide a baseline for screening those who may be at risk for occupational performance deficits.
Discriminant validity findings provide additional psychometric support for use of the WCPA as an appropriate and valid tool to assess EF and strategy use in at-risk youth.
Strategy-based interventions that focus on effective methods for coping or managing activity challenges may have potential for increasing performance across broad areas of academics and function in at-risk youth.
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