Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
This is a study of cognitive functioning in youth with Psychotic-Like Experiences (PLEs) and/or depression. There is currently a paucity of literature in this area in youth. A contributing factor to the scarcity of literature is that depression and psychosis tend to be overlooked in childhood and not diagnosed until later in life. Nevertheless, it is essential to study cognitive markers in these conditions as they may be able to help identify youth at risk for future psychopathology. Furthermore, these deficits can worsen over time and interfere with everyday life. It was hypothesized that there would be differences in cognitive functions between those with and without PLEs and those with and without depression. Youth with PLEs performed worse on verbal working memory when participants with auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) were removed from the non-PLE groups, suggesting AVH played a role in the findings. Verbal memory and processing speed differences were not significant in the PLEs, depression, or comorbid conditions. Interestingly, controls with AVH had the worst cognitive performance overall based on demographic data. Thus, further research is warranted to examine the impact of auditory verbal hallucinations on cognitive functioning in youth.
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