DOI

10.17077/etd.z53o3gwy

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Degree

Summer 2018

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Psychology

First Advisor

Daniel T. Tranel

First Committee Member

Natalie L. Denburg

Second Committee Member

Michelle W. Voss

Third Committee Member

Karin F. Hoth

Fourth Committee Member

Molly A. Nikolas

Abstract

Episodic future thinking is defined as the ability to mentally project oneself into the future into a specific time and place. Episodic future thinking has been explored extensively in neuroscience. However, it has not been determined whether the measurement of episodic future thinking might be valuable in a clinical neuropsychological setting. The current study examined the relationship between episodic future thinking and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), which is a domain of adaptive functioning frequently assessed by neuropsychologists to examine independent living potential including the ability to handle finances, prepare food, complete household duties, and manage medications. A secondary aim was to examine whether episodic future thinking is related to IADLs over and above standard measures of cognition. 61 older adults with heterogeneous neurological conditions and 41 healthy older adults completed a future thinking task (the adapted Autobiographical Interview), two measures of IADLs (an informant report measure called the Everyday Cognition Scale and a performance-based measure called the Independent Living Scales), and standard measures of memory and executive functioning. Episodic future thinking was significantly associated with performance-based IADLs when accounting for age, education, gender, and depression (r=.26, p=.010). Episodic future thinking significantly predicted performance-based IADLs over and above executive functioning (R2=.025, p=.030). Episodic future thinking was not predictive of performance-based IADLs over and above memory (p=.157). Episodic future thinking was not significantly associated with informant reported IADLs when accounting for age, education, gender, and depression (p=.284). This study suggests that episodic future thinking is significantly associated with IADLs, beyond what can be accounted for by executive functioning. Episodic future thinking may provide information about IADLs to clinical neuropsychologists so they can improve their recommendations for independent living.

Keywords

episodic future thinking, executive functioning, instrumental activities of daily living, memory, older adults

Pages

ix, 114 pages

Bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 59-84).

Copyright

Copyright © 2018 Amanda M. Brunette

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