Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP


Research has shown that EF difficulties are evident in the symptomatology of numerous psychopathologies and mental health disorders, especially in children. Due to the pervasiveness of EF difficulties related to a majority of the emotional and mental disorders experienced by children, there is a clear need to identify, carefully, the specific nature of the EF difficulties demonstrated by a child so that appropriate interventions can be identified and implemented. Despite this need, currently available individuallyadministered tests and rating scales are not constructed on the basis of a comprehensive theory of executive capacities, and therefore focus only on one or a handful of executive functions. The current study used archival data from the McCloskey Executive Functions Scale (MEFS; McCloskey, 2016), a norm-referenced rating scale developed in accordance with a multi-tiered, multi-faceted theory of executive control, to examine if teachers’ ratings of students’ executive capacities differ significantly among a clinical and matched, non-clinical control group. Congruent with the hypothesis of this study, comparison between groups found that a greater proportion of students who were in the Emotionally Disturbed/Behaviorally Disordered sample were consistently judged as having both executive function and executive skill deficits across all seven clusters, for each of the 31 Self-Regulation Executive Capacities, and within both the Academic and Self/Social Arenas. The findings of this study highlight the fact that assessment at this level could lead to better understanding of how and why EF is so broadly impacted across mental health disorders, and thus aid in improved interventions, targeted treatment, and increased positive outcomes for this population.

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