Date of Award

9-16-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

William Meil, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Dasen Luo, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Michael D. Franzen, Ph.D.

Abstract

The present study was proposed to examine the potential connections between litigation, performance on neuropsychological measures, individual factors, suspect motivation, and postconcussive symptoms, as well as the patterns in test selection and administration across this sample. A total of 318 cases met the inclusion criteria of individuals who received evaluations as a result of sustaining a traumatic brain injury. The following variables were examined: individual characteristics such as age, education level, injury severity, and injury cause, and scores on memory, attention/concentration, executive functioning, and psychiatric functioning measures. The cases were categorized as workers’ compensation litigators, civil suit litigators, or non-litigators. There was a substantial amount of missing data for this sample, which was statistically addressed through the Expectation-Maximum imputation method. The results of the present study found differences in terms of test administration across the litigation groups. For example, those involved in litigation were more likely to be administered suspect motivation measures than the non-litigation sample. No statistically significant differences between the litigation groups on measures of memory, attention, executive dysfunction, or psychiatric symptoms. This may have been due to a number of factors such as the unequal sample sizes across the litigation samples, the small sample size of the worker’s compensations group, and the more stringent alpha levels that were set to address the multiple comparisons and violations of the homogeneity of variance assumption. One significant difference was found between the litigation groups on the FrSBe Family Report measure which indicated that families reported significantly more negative change in executive functioning pre- and post-injury for the workers’ compensation group than for the civil suit or non-litigation groups. This has implications regarding the impact of families’ perceptions of cognitive changes on individuals’ decision to litigate in workers’ compensation cases. Specifically, it suggests that families’ perception of cognitive deficits attributed to the injury may have a greater influence on the individuals’ decisions to litigate than injury severity or actual degree of impairment.

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