Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Ed Psychology and Research
Long-term survivors of childhood cancer often experience a myriad of late effects of their treatment. Among these are academic and learning problems that often do not appear until the child has been off treatment for years. The purpose of this study was to examine the contributors to academic achievement deficits in children who are long-term survivors of acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) or a brain tumor (BT), and who have received central nervous system directed treatment. The present study analyzed a hypothesized developmental model of contributors to academic achievement deficits in a sample of 302 long-term survivors. These children participated in a larger study of cognitive late effects and data from that study used in this analysis included: the treatment variables of length of time since completion of treatment, treatment intensity and age when treatment began; demographic variables of gender and age at testing; family education variables; a measure of intelligence; and academic achievement measures in the areas of reading comprehension, basic reading skills, mathematics calculation, mathematics reasoning and spelling. Also included in the analyses were selected items from the Conners’ Teacher Rating Scale-Revised: Short form (CTRS-R:S) and the Conners’ Continuous Performance Test. Data were submitted to a structural equation modeling analysis. Results of the analyses were generally consistent with the hypothesized model of the causal effects of the treatment-related factors of treatment intensity and age at treatment on academic achievement deficits, however indicated that attention, as measured by the Conners’ CPT is not a contributor to these deficits. Length of time off treatment was not found to be a significant contributing variable in the model. Attention and classroom performance problems, as observed by teachers, are significant contributors to academic achievement deficits in this model. The findings also indicated that Intelligence is an important mediating variable in academic achievement outcomes in this sample. Implications of these results for understanding the nature of academic achievement deficits in long-term survivors of childhood cancer, and future assessment and remediation practices are discussed.
Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Helton, Susan Chattin, "A Model of Contributors to Academic Achievement Deficits in Childhood Cancer Survivors" (2010). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 52.