Date of Award

7-24-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology

Committee Chair

Lisa Christiansen, Psy.D.

Second Advisor

Claudia Kritz, Ph.D.

Abstract

Methamphetamine (MA) use in the United States is a significant problem that spans across the nation. While research has focused on specific domains affected by MA use there is limited research in regards to identifying a consistent cognitive profile or pattern for this population. Several studies have shown cognitive deficits in the areas of episodic memory, psychomotor speed/response inhibition, and manipulation of information, executive functioning, and fluid intelligence while other studies have presented conflicting results. The purpose of the current study is to identify whether or not a consistent cognitive profile can be determined by examining the neuropsychological performance of a sample of incarcerated men and women with a history of chronic MA use. Complete demographic and neuropsychological data were gathered from 9 individuals, consisting of 5 males and 4 females. The findings from the current study suggest chronic MA users tend to show trends of impaired performance in attention, executive planning, and mental flexibility specifically when these tasks are involved as a component of another target task (i.e. episodic memory). The overall cognitive profiles of MA users in the current study paralleled impairments seen with individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. In general, the small sample size of only 9 subjects does not allow for accurate generalization of cognitive impairments and results should be interpreted with caution, although the trends observed may provide a direction for future study.

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