Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Baird, Anne

Keywords

academic self-efficacy, executive function, goal management training, intervention, undergraduate students

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Goal Management Training (GMT) has been studied extensively in the past and has been established as a successful intervention for individuals with executive functioning (EF) difficulties. The populations included in the literature so far consist of individuals with severe EF problems, such as those who have sustained a brain injury. However, GMT has never been used with younger individuals who report subclinical levels of EF difficulties. This study addressed this gap in the literature as it involved 35 undergraduate students with self-reported EF difficulties. Participants either received one four-hour GMT workshop (GMT group) or no workshop (control group), but otherwise an equivalent amount of contact with the principal investigator. Participants’ EF capabilities and self-reported difficulties were assessed three times: once before and after the GMT group received the workshop, and once at a three-month follow-up. In addition, measures of academic self-efficacy and grade point averages (GPAs) were collected. Self-reported goal management difficulties decreased in both groups from the baseline to the second follow-up assessment. Processing speed improved in both groups over the same period, but there was a bigger gain in the GMT group. Further, overall significant improvements were observed for all participants, regardless of group membership, on all EF measures, self-report questionnaires, and GPA. The results indicate that exposure to this study may have had an overall significantly positive effect for both groups. Further research is needed to understand the factors that played a role in this significant increase for both groups and the contribution of GMT in the significant improvement of processing speed and self-reported GM skills in the GMT group.

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