Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Education


Objective This study was designed to examine whether neurocognitive functioning (attention and executive functions) and parenting behaviors (acceptance, behavioral control and psychological control) are associated with medical adherence and autonomy among preadolescents and adolescents with spina bifida. Methods Questionnaire and observational data were collected from a sample of 8 to 15 year olds with spina bifida (n = 139) and their mothers, fathers, and teachers. Youth also completed neuropsychological testing. Results Youth with spina bifida demonstrated impairment on measures of attention and executive function, based on questionnaire and test data. Attention, executive function, and parenting behaviors were associated with medical adherence and autonomy. Analyses also suggest that parenting behaviors moderate the relation between neurocognitive functioning and healthcare behaviors. Conclusions Interventions that target attention, executive function, and parenting behaviors may facilitate positive healthcare behavior outcomes among youth with spina bifida.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.