Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP


Compared to photon radiation, proton radiation spares healthy tissue by better targeting the tumor, reducing entrance dose, and eliminating exit dose (Semenova, 2009). Research thus far has largely focused on intelligence and adaptive profiles for individuals treated with proton radiation therapy (PRT; Patel, Mullins, O-Neil, & Wilson, 2011). Additionally, the effect of age varies in regard to age being protective or not (Levisohn, Cronin-Golomb, & Schmahmann, 2000; De Ruiter, Van Mourik, Schouten-Van Meeteren, Grootenhus, & Oosterlann, 2013; Wolfe, Madan-Swain, & Kana, 2012). This study aimed to retrospectively evaluate the effect of age on diagnosis on neuropsychological functioning for individuals with infratentorial tumors treated with PRT. Archival data from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) was used. A total of 24 participants were eligible to participate in the current study. A descriptive approach was used to describe the group’s performance because of the small sample size. A variety of measures were used to assess verbal and nonverbal cognitive skills, processing speed, verbal and visual memory, visual-motor/motor skills, and attention and inhibition abilities. Verbal comprehension and perceptual reasoning were found to be largely intact across all groups. Processing speed and visual-motor integration skills were Low Average, and dominant-hand fine-motor skills were Impaired. All other domains varied tremendously. Potential explanations of the current findings are discussed. The primary limitations of this study are its small sample size and limited generalizability. More longitudinal research is needed to fully understand the impact of PRT on survivors of pediatric brain tumors. Lastly, directions for future research are also discussed.

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