Date of Award

2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Casey, Joseph (Psychology)

Keywords

Psychology, Clinical.

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

A great deal of research has focused on memory dysfunction in children with learning disabilities. However, findings have been inconsistent which may be attributed to the limitations inherent in the approaches previously used in this area. Given the heterogeneous nature of learning disabilities, the current study examined performance on the Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning- Second Edition (WRAML2) to identify reliable and meaningful memory profiles in children and adolescents diagnosed with a learning disability. A total of 101 children and adolescents between the ages of 9 and 16 diagnosed with a learning disability were included in this study. Participants scaled subtest scores on the WRAML2 core subtests and the verbal working memory subtest were subjected to two-stage hierarchical and iterative partitioning cluster analysis. Internal validity of the final cluster solution was established using multiple-method reliability techniques. Comparison of the results obtained using several two-stage cluster analyses strongly suggested the presence of five memory subtypes. Three of the five clusters were differentiated primarily by level of performance (Average, Low Average, and Borderline scores on the majority of subtests). The other two clusters were differentiated by pattern of performance (weak visuospatial short term memory and weak auditory verbal short term memory). The five subtypes exhibited distinct patterns of performance on measures of delayed memory, intellectual functioning, and academic achievement. Also, the groups differed in the rate of co-morbid ADHD, the results together suggesting that the memory profiles are valid and potentially clinically meaningful. The findings indicate that reliable patterns of WRAML2 subtest scores can be identified in children and adolescents with learning disabilities. The implications of the findings are discussed.

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