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Thesis

Cognitive Functioning, Executive Functioning, and Coping in a Corrections Population

25 July 2008

Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate cognitive functioning, executive functioning, and coping as they relate to each other and antisocial behavior in a corrections population. This study reviewed the empirical and theoretical literature on cognitive functioning, executive functioning, and coping, as well as empirically tested the relationships between these functions and their impact on antisocial behavior. Participants included 80 residents at a community corrections transitional facility. Subtests of the WAS! (Psychological Corporation, 1999) were used to assess cognitive functioning, subtests of the D-KEFS (Delis, Kaplan, & Kramer, 2001) were used t6 assess executive functioning, and the inmates reported their own coping strategies as measured by the COPE (Carver, Scherer, & Weintraub, 1989). Antisocial behavior was measured by number of incident reports, arrests, and convictions. Results indicated that executive functioning deficits were more strongly related to measures of antisocial behavior than coping strategies and cognitive dysfunction. Neither cognitive nor executive dysfunction was found to have a strong impact on use of coping strategy. Contrary to expectations, increased coping, whether considered adaptive, maladaptive, problem- or emotion-focused, was associated with increased antisocial behavior. Future research with a more severely impaired population is needed as cognitive and executive functioning was found to be intact for the residents as a group.


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