WISC -III third factor: Its relation to anxiety, attention, vigilance, distractibility, and cognitive flexibility

Lalita Krishnamurthy, Fordham University

Abstract

This study investigated the nature of the WISC-III Freedom from Distractibility factor (FFD) and its utility in the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by comparing it to five psychological measures: anxiety, disinhibition, inattention, distractibility, and cognitive flexibility.^ The sample included 71 subjects (35 males and 36 females) between 8 and 12 years of age. The subjects were categorized into target and control groups based on the difference in scores between the Verbal Comprehension Index and the FFD Index on the WISC III. All subjects were administered two neuropsychological measures--the Continuous Performance Test (CPT) and the Wisconsin Card Sort Test (WCST)--and their parents completed the Conners' Parent Rating Scale-93 (CPRS-93).^ The results of the Pearson product-moment correlations between the CPT and the Freedom from Distractibility factor revealed a moderate relationship between the Distractibility task of the CPT and the FFD. No relationship was found between the FFD and either the Vigilance task, a measure of sustained attention and impulsivity, or the Delay task. A statistically significant correlation was found between the variables of the WCST and the FFD. The relationship between the Conners' Anxiety variable and the FFD was found to be non-significant. In a regression analysis the eight predictor variables predicted the FFD successfully but accounted for 40.5% of the variance only, leaving 59.5% unaccounted for. The greatest amount of variance in predicting the FFD was accounted for by both IQ and the Conners' Anxiety index on the CPRS-93.^ The results of this study corroborate the findings of other researchers regarding the limitations in clinical utility of the FFD in the diagnosis of ADHD. Therefore, it is imperative that this factor not be used independently in the diagnosis of ADHD. The relationship between the Distractibility task of the CPT and the FFD and the relationship between the WCST and the FFD suggest that the FFD may be measuring more than distractibility. The nature of the relationships suggests that research into the areas of working memory and cognitive flexibility may produce promising results. ^

Subject Area

Education, Tests and Measurements|Education, Educational Psychology|Psychology, Clinical|Psychology, Psychometrics

Recommended Citation

Krishnamurthy, Lalita, "WISC -III third factor: Its relation to anxiety, attention, vigilance, distractibility, and cognitive flexibility" (1998). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9841115.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9841115

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