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Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation:
doi: 10.1097/HTR.0b013e3181f1ead2
Original Articles

Rehabilitation of Executive Functioning With Training in Attention Regulation Applied to Individually Defined Goals: A Pilot Study Bridging Theory, Assessment, and Treatment

Novakovic-Agopian, Tatjana PhD; Chen, Anthony J.-W. MD; Rome, Scott MD; Abrams, Gary MD; Castelli, Holli OTR/L; Rossi, Annemarie OTR/L; McKim, Ryan PsyD; Hills, Nancy PhD; D'Esposito, Mark MD

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Abstract

Objective: To assess feasibility and effects of training in goal-oriented attentional self-regulation for patients with brain injury and chronic executive dysfunction.

Participants: Sixteen individuals with chronic brain injury and mild to moderate executive dysfunction.

Design: Participants were divided into 2 groups: one group completed goal-oriented attentional self-regulation training during the first 5 weeks, followed by a brief (2-hour) educational instruction session as a control midway through the second 5 weeks; the other group participated in reverse order.

Measures: Neuropsychological and functional performance assessed at baseline and at weeks 5 and 10.

Results: Participants found training in goal-oriented attentional self-regulation engaging, incorporated some trained strategies into daily life, and reported subjective improvements in personal functioning. At week 5, participants who completed goals training significantly improved on tests of attention and executive function and had fewer functional task failures, while performance did not change after educational instruction. At week 10, participants who crossed over from educational instruction to goals training also significantly improved on attention and executive function tests. Participants who crossed from goals training to educational instruction maintained their week 5 gains.

Conclusions: Training in goal-oriented attentional self-regulation is theoretically driven and feasible in a research setting. Pilot results suggest improvements in cognitive and functional domains targeted by the intervention.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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