Comparing behavior and neuropsychological functioning using NEPSY and BASC-2 scores in a mixed clinical sample
The purpose of this study was to conduct a preliminary analysis of the validation of neuropsychological predictors of externalizing and internalizing problems. Multiple neuropsychological domains, including executive functions, attention, language, visual-spatial processing, memory, and sensorimotor functioning, were examined. Archival school neuropsychological evaluation reports were reviewed resulting in 100 participants aged five to 12.9 ( M = 9.90) with 72 males and 28 females. The participants' significant medical, psychological, and neuropsychological histories resulted in a mixed clinical sample. The two most commonly reported diagnoses were Learning Disability (n = 19) and Emotional Disturbance with ADHD (n = 19). Measures included the NEPSY to evaluate neurocognitive skills and parent and teacher rated BASC-2 scores as measures of behavior.
Due to missing information within the archival evaluations, multiple imputation was used to approximate the missing data. Multiple linear regression-stepwise analyses were performed to predict BASC-2 scores from NEPSY scores. Results indicate that NEPSY scores do predict BASC-2 scores. In regards to externalizing behaviors, although the overall model is significant, the results do not indicate that children who exhibit higher ratings of externalizing problems also exhibit weaknesses in the neuropsychological areas of executive functions, attention, and memory.
In regards to internalizing behaviors, children who exhibit higher levels of internalizing problems did not exhibit weaknesses in the neuropsychological areas of memory, attention, language, and sensorimotor functioning. The results indicate that some tests of attention and visual-spatial skills predicted behavior for males. Tests of attention, executive functioning, memory, visual-spatial, and sensorimotor skills predicted behavior scores in females. Finally, the hypothesis that neuropsychological predictors of behavior will differ depending on parent or teacher rated behavior was supported. Due to the exploratory nature of this study, the obtained results raise additional questions and further research is indicated for a better understanding of the nature and generalizability of these findings.