Date Approved

2010

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Committee Member

Renee Lajiness-O'Neill, PhD

Committee Member

Alissa Huth-Bocks, PhD

Committee Member

Dean Lauterbach, PhD

Abstract

Velocardiofacial Syndrome (VCFS) is a genetic disorder characterized by numerous physiological and psychological symptoms. Little is known regarding the neuropsychological substrates of social functioning in individuals with VCFS. This study was a secondary data analysis investigating the relationship between various brain structure volumes and social deficits in individuals with VCFS. Volumetric measures of brain regions based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were compared between 6 VCFS individuals and 6 controls. Controls were identically matched according to age and gender. It was hypothesized that after covarying for total brain volume, VCFS patients would exhibit larger amygdala and insula volumes and smaller prefrontal cortex (PFC), orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), insula, superior temorpal sulcus (STS), and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) volumes relative to controls. In addition, scores on the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), a measure assessing problematic behaviors and social competency, would be correlated with volumes of amygdala, PFC, OFC, DLPFC, STS, and ACC in patients with VCFS. Specifically, it was hypothesized that regional volumes in patients with VCFS will be associated with increased problem scores and decreased social competency as measured by the CBCL. Amygdala volumes were found to be enlarged in individuals with VCFS relative to controls t (10) = 4.01, p < .05) and negatively correlated with the attention subscale of the CBCL r(6)= -.98, p < .01. Contrary to expectations, DLPFC volumes were larger in individuals with VCFS relative to controls t(10)= 3.23, p < .05).

Included in

Psychology Commons

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