Title page for ETD etd-07072004-131623

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Denning, John H.,II
Author's Email Address jdenni2@lsu.edu
URN etd-07072004-131623
Title The Effects of Auditory Distraction on Attention Performance in Asymptomatic College Students with a History of Mild Head Injury
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Drew Gouvier Committee Chair
Amy Copeland Committee Member
Paula J. Geiselman Committee Member
Phillip J. Brantley Committee Member
Thomas P. Gillis Dean's Representative
  • neuropsychological tests
  • residual impairment
  • memory deficits
  • stress
  • working memory
Date of Defense 2004-05-21
Availability unrestricted
Introduction: The majority of individuals experiencing a mild head injury (MHI) recover fully experiencing few residual symptoms. Some individuals who fully recover have shown evidence of residual, albeit subtle, brain functioning disturbances on tasks requiring high levels of cognitive effort. Also, memory complaints in MHI patients may be related to these subtle difficulties when cognitive resources are overwhelmed. This study assessed a group of asymptomatic college students with a history of MHI to determine if there were any residual attention difficulties as well as increased memory complaints. Method: One-hundred twelve college students with and without a history of MHI were administered several tests of attention. Participants were randomly assigned to a standard administration or distraction condition where they were exposed to distracting auditory stimuli. Memory complaints and subjective assessment of performance were collected after testing. Results: The MHI group showed significantly poorer performance on Trailmaking Test part A while under conditions of auditory distraction. There were no other differences between MHI and controls in the expected direction, but performance was slightly higher in the MHI group on Digit Span Backward and Symbol Search. There were no differences between MHI and controls for reported memory complaints, but the MHI group reported higher levels of stress when tested under distraction conditions. Conclusions: Even under distraction conditions, the MHI group performed within the average range across all measures of attention and were highly similar to a well-matched control group. Memory complaints were slightly higher in the MHI group tested under distraction conditions compared to the head-injured participants tested under standard conditions.
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