Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 317–340

Neuropsychological function and psychosocial deficit in adolescents with chronic neurological impairment


  • Patricia H. Papero
    • Department of PsychologyChildren's National Medical Center
    • Department of PsychiatryGeorge Washington University
  • George W. Howe
    • Department of PsychiatryGeorge Washington University
  • David Reiss
    • Department of PsychiatryGeorge Washington University

DOI: 10.1007/BF01047434

Cite this article as:
Papero, P.H., Howe, G.W. & Reiss, D. J Dev Phys Disabil (1992) 4: 317. doi:10.1007/BF01047434


Research on childhood chronic illness suggests that children with brain-related conditions show elevated risk for psychosocial maladjustment. This study explored how neuropsychological dysfunction might contribute to such maladjustment in adolescents with chronic neurological impairment. Comprehensive neuropsychological assessments were conducted with 31 impaired adolescents and 16 contrast subjects with negative neurologic histories. Groups were balanced on age, socioeconomic status, and race. Psychosocial functioning was assessed via the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist, Woodcock-Johnson achievement, and work history. The neurological group demonstrated lower scores on almost all neuropsychological indices, more internalizing symptoms, and lower reading and math achievement. Memory continued to distinguish the two groups when IQ was controlled. Neuropsychological indices showed strong relationships to psychosocial adjustment, but these were not independent of IQ. Findings point to the broad effects of neuropsychological dysfunction on psychosocial adjustment in neurologically impaired adolescents but do not support the contribution of specific neuropsychological domains as opposed to a general ability factor.

Key Words

neuropsychological assessmentpsychosocial defectsneurological impairment

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1992