Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Robin D. Morris, Ph.D. - Chair

Second Advisor

Mary Morris, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Rose Sevcik, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Martha Foster, Ph.D.


To date, the effect of planning ability on adaptive functioning has not been extensively examined in children treated for brain tumors. Findings indicate that individuals with brain tumors are more likely to experience poor planning ability (Boyd & Sautter, 1993) and that children with even mild neurological complications demonstrate impairments in adaptive functioning (Fletcher et al., 1990). The purpose of this study is to assess spatial planning and to examine its utility in predicting adaptive and cognitive functional impairment in children diagnosed and treated for brain tumors. Forty children diagnosed with a brain tumor (mean age at diagnosis 8.6 years) were administered the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure (ROCF) task, the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale (VABS), and the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale: Fourth Edition (SB:IV) at an average of one year post diagnosis (post acute) and again at two years post diagnosis (long term). The results of this investigation did not support the use of spatial planning skills as a predictor of adaptive functioning at one year or two years post diagnosis. However, spatial planning skill was an important predictor of cognitive functioning, accounting for a significant amount of variance at both one year and two years post diagnosis. These results were not expected and therefore further analyses were performed in order to better understand the data and results. Additional analyses suggest that it is spatial skill and not spatial planning that predicts adaptive functioning. Further research should continue to ask questions that will impact how we understand executive, adaptive, and cognitive functioning outcomes in children diagnosed with brain tumors.


Included in

Psychology Commons