Executive functioning, social skills and social anxiety in adolescent survivors of acute lymphocytic leukemia



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This document proposes a study designed to investigate the association between executive function abilities and social anxiety in a group of adolescent survivors of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) who were treated with chemotherapy for central nervous system prophylaxis. The proposed study is also designed to evaluate a possible interaction effect between executive function abilities and social skills in their impact on social anxiety in this population. The report provides detailed background information describing ALL and available treatments for the disease. It also reviews the literature on both acute and late effects of chemotherapy, with particular attention placed on understanding both neurocognitive and psychosocial effects in the context of adolescent development. The proposed project involves collecting parent and teacher reports to measure the constructs of Executive Function and Social Skills. Parent measures may be completed in English or Spanish. Self-reports of Social Anxiety symptoms in the adolescent survivor sample will also be collected. Simultaneous regression analyses will be used to analyze the influence of executive function abilities on social anxiety. Sequential multiple regression analyses will then be conducted to check for differences in the magnitude of the relationship between executive function abilities and social anxiety with varying levels of social skills. Significant results would inform the development of targeted interventions. For example, if it is determined that executive function abilities are indeed associated with social anxiety symptoms, existing programs focused on neurocognitive remediation could begin to monitor participants for anxiety and provide preventative therapeutic intervention. Additionally, if social skills is confirmed as a moderator, evidence-based interventions targeting the development of social skills in the survivor population would be warranted as well.