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Dissertation

Juvenile firesetting in adolescent boys: Are there differences in executive functioning?

16 April 2004

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate an area of juvenile firesetters not yet explored. Thus, this study set out to determine if juvenile firesetters with conduct problems score significantly lower on measures of executive functions than juveniles with conduct problems only. To answer the research question a quantitative study with a comparative design was implemented. Forty-eight subjects (24 firesetters and 24 non-firesetters) were administered the nine subtests of a fairly new neuropsychological test battery called the Delis-Kaplan Executive Functions System (D-KEFS), as well as two subtests of the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI). The Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) test was used to compare these two groups on all nine D-KEFS subtests. Results found that firesetters did not have significantly lower scores on tests of . executive functioning than non-firesetters. These results suggest that differences in neuropsychological functioning may not be a differentiating factor between conduct problem juveniles with and without firesetting history. However, this. study was able to confirm previous studies which have found no statistical differences in cognitive functioning between these two groups. Future research should be directed in reconducting previous studies with more measurable outcomes, and in exploring differing conceptual models to better understand juvenile firesetting behavior.


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