The relationship of neuropsychological functioning to adaptation outcome in adolescents with spina bifida

Amy K. Heffelfinger, Jennifer I. Koop, Philip S. Fastenau, Timothy J. Brei, Lisa Conant, Jennifer Katzenstein, Susan E. Cashin, Kathleen J. Sawin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Adolescents with spina bifida (SB) vary in their ability to adapt to the disease, and it is likely that numerous risk and protective factors affect adaptation outcomes. The primary aim was to test neuropsychological impairment, exemplified herein by executive dysfunction, as a risk factor in the Ecological Model of Adaptation for Adolescents with SB. Specific hypotheses were that: (1) executive functioning predicts the adaptation outcome of functional independence in adolescents with SB; (2) executive functioning mediates the impact of neurological severity on functional independence; and (3) family and adolescent protective factors are related to functional independence and moderate the relationship between executive functioning and functional independence. Forty-three adolescents aged 12-21 years completed neuropsychological measures and an interview that assessed risk, adolescent and family protective factors, and functional independence. Age, level of lesion, executive functioning, and the protective factor adolescent activities were significantly correlated with the functional independence outcome. In hierarchical regression analysis, the model accounted for 61% of the variance in functional independence outcomes. Executive functioning mediated the impact of neurological severity on functional independence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)793-804
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Child
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive
  • Meningomyelocele
  • Myelomeningocele
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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