Semester of Graduation
Master of Arts (MA)
Children and adolescents with internalizing disorders, such as generalized anxiety and major depression, often experience functional impairment across multiple domains that exacerbates psychopathology. Working memory is a cognitive process that has been scrutinized for its ubiquity in daily life, its strong association with academic success, and its susceptibility to interference from internalizing symptoms, such as a depressed mood or anxious apprehension. However, the literature on the relationship between youth internalizing symptoms and working memory span is sparse, and existing research is confounded by a lack of theoretical clarity and, consequently, incomparable procedures. The present study aims to clarify this relationship through a neurocognitive lens by examining the unique contributions of a specific dimension of anxiety (e.g., anxious apprehension, or cognitive worry) and a transdiagnostic process (e.g., emotion regulation) to variance in verbal-auditory working memory span when inattention is accounted for. Participants were selected from an existing database of youth and their parents who presented to LSU’s Psychological Services Center and completed measures of working memory, anxiety, emotion regulation, and inattention. Data was analyzed with a three-step hierarchical regression. It was hypothesized that verbal-auditory working memory span would be negatively associated with both anxious apprehension and emotion regulation deficits. Results indicated that verbal-auditory working memory was negatively associated with levels of anxious apprehension, but positively associated with emotion regulation deficits. Further, anxious apprehension was only associated with verbal-auditory working memory in the context of emotion regulation, as only the overall regression model was statistically significant.
Spano, Paul, "Neurocognitive Models of Anxious Apprehension and Emotion Regulation: Implications for Working Memory" (2023). LSU Master's Theses. 5759.
Kelley, Mary L.
Available for download on Saturday, April 04, 2026