Comparison of Executive Function Skills of Health Professional Undergraduate and Graduate Students
Paula D. Jarrard, OTD, OTR/L Marianne Sergi, Jessica Hunt, Nicole Kiger,Samantha Memme, McKenzie Pollard

The purpose of this study was to assess and compare executive function (EF) skills between undergraduate and graduate students using the Weekly Calendar Planning Activity-Students (WCPA-S). The WCPA-S is useful in identifying EF deficits by observing performance scores and strategy use. Participants included a total of 20 students, ages 19-24, enrolled in health professional programs. Using a cross-sectional, two-group comparison research design, differences were analyzed between level of education and any variances between gender and students with or without specific self-reported conditions potentially impairing EF function. Mean, standard deviations, and ANOVAs were used for data analyses. The WCPA-S was administered to each student individually. Each participant completed the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF-A).There were no significant differences found between groups for level of education or gender. One significant difference was found between students with and without self-reported conditions in task performance and strategy use of WCPA-S. No significant difference in BRIEF-A Global Executive Composite (GEC) scores was found among groups. A weak negative correlation was seen between the GEC and Grade Point Average (GPA). Global executive dysfunction was not predicted by level of education or gender.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/ijhs.v8n1a2