Graduation Date

5-2015

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

Department or Program

Occupational Therapy

Department or Program Chair

Ruth Ramsey, Ed.D., OTR/L

First Reader

Julia Wilbarger, Ph.D., OTR/L

Second Reader

Kitsum Li, OTD, OTR/L

Abstract

Background and purpose. Executive function (EF) deficits is a growing area of focus in pediatric occupational therapy practice. However, there is a lack of performance-based assessments of EF in preschool-aged children. This study sought to establish preliminary criterion-related validity of the Preschool Kitchen Task Assessment (PKTA), a test of EF in preschoolers developed by Christine Berg, Ph.D., OTR/L, in which children complete a multi-step craft project.

Subjects. Fifteen typically developing preschool-aged children participated in this study.

Methods. An exploratory design was used to assess criterion-related validity of the PKTA. Participants completed the PKTA along with several established neuropsychological assessments of EF: the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function - Preschool Version (BRIEF-P), the Dimensional Change Card Sort, and the Forward and Backward Digit Span Tasks. Relationships between scores were examined by calculating a Pearson r correlation.

Results. A good significant correlation was found between the PKTA total score and the BRIEF-P Inhibitory Control (r=.52), as well as the Inhibitory Self-Control Index (r=.53). A fair non-significant correlation was found between the PKTA total score and BRIEF-P Global Executive Composite (r=.34), Emotional Control (r=.39) and Working Memory (r=.29) scores. Results showed a moderate non-significant relationship between the PKTA and the Backward Digit Span (r=-.48).

Discussion and conclusion. Results support the preliminary validity of the PKTA, particularly the strong relationships found with the BRIEF-P scores. The PKTA was sensitive to age-related cognitive development and demonstrated ecological validity. The PKTA is a promising tool to enable occupational therapists to assess for EF in this age group.

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