Publications by authors named "Lauren E Cox"

5 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Psychosocial Functioning of Young Children Treated for Cancer: Findings From a Clinical Sample.

J Pediatr Oncol Nurs 2019 Jan/Feb;36(1):17-23

1 St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, USA.

Objectives: Many pediatric cancers are diagnosed in early childhood, a time of significant growth and development that lays the foundations for overall adjustment and functioning. The objective of this article was to characterize the psychosocial functioning of young children with cancer.

Method: Data from a sample of young children with cancer ( N = 92) who completed a psychological evaluation that included the Behavior Assessment Scale for Children-second edition (BASC-2) parent report were abstracted from the medical record. Patients were primarily White (70.7%), male (54.3%), and 4.81 ± 0.89 years old at evaluation. Most were treated for brain tumors (64.1%).

Results: Overall group means on each of the BASC-2 subscales were within normal limits, though significantly more patients than expected had elevated scores on the Internalizing and Behavioral Symptoms indexes. Patients who were on-treatment had higher mean overall Internalizing Problems scores, as well as greater Anxiety and Somatization scores, than those who were off-treatment (Wilks's λ = 0.75, p < .001). Patients treated for brain tumors had lower mean Activities of Daily Living scores than those with other diagnoses ( F = 15.81, p < .001).

Conclusions: Findings from this clinically referred sample indicate that while most young children with cancer are doing well psychosocially, approximately 20% to 30% demonstrated difficulties in at least one area. Findings support the need for monitoring of young children with cancer as well as appropriate intervention services.
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May 2020

Parent-reported executive functioning in young children treated for cancer.

Child Neuropsychol 2019 05 26;25(4):548-560. Epub 2018 Jul 26.

a Department of Psychology , St. Jude Children's Research Hospital , Memphis , TN , USA.

It is well known that children treated for cancer are at risk for cognitive and functional impairments. Such research is largely based on studies of late effects in school-aged or older children. However, far less is known about executive function weaknesses in preschool-aged children treated for cancer. Thus, the aim of this study was to examine executive functioning in a clinically referred sample of young oncology patients, and its association with broader domains of functioning. Data from 61 young children with cancer, who were referred for clinical cognitive evaluations, were abstracted and included in this study. Patients were 5.00 years of age (SD = 0.72) at assessment, 54.1% male, and two-thirds (63.9%) had been treated for brain tumors. Most executive functions were significantly discrepant from the mean, with 47.5% of preschoolers having parent-reported working memory concerns within the clinically significant range. There were no differences in executive functioning based on diagnosis or treatment status. Parent-reported executive functioning was strongly correlated with global intelligence and adaptive functioning, with some indices also associated with nonverbal problem solving and pre-academic skills. Ultimately, results indicate the presence of emerging weaknesses in executive functioning in young children with cancer, and add to a growing body of literature highlighting the potential cognitive and behavioral risks associated with a cancer diagnosis in early childhood.
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May 2019

Cognitive and Psychosocial Functioning of Preschool-Aged Children with Cancer.

J Dev Behav Pediatr 2017 Oct;38(8):638-645

*Department of Psychology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN; †Department of Psychology, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN.

Objective: Most children with cancer are diagnosed in early childhood, potentially resulting in missed developmental opportunities. The most common diagnoses-brain tumors, leukemia-are also associated with increased risk of neurocognitive deficits. Unfortunately, research regarding the functioning of preschool-aged children with cancer is limited. Our objective is to describe the cognitive and psychosocial functioning of preschool-aged children with cancer who completed a clinical evaluation at a hospital-based psychology clinic.

Methods: Assessment data from 98 preschool-aged children with cancer (M = 5.17 years old, SD = 0.54; 54.1% male) who completed clinically referred evaluations from 2011 to 2015 were abstracted. Because of variability in assessment measures used across clinicians, indicators of cognitive, adaptive, preacademic, and emotional/behavioral functioning were collapsed before analyses.

Results: Children were 2.56 years from diagnosis (SD = 1.46, range 0-5.25 years) and most were off therapy (79.6%). Primary diagnostic categories were represented: brain tumor (68.4%), solid tumor (15.3%), and leukemia (16.3%). Mean IQ scores were significantly below expectations (t[80] = -7.95, p < .001). There were no differences based on diagnostic category, treatment status, or sex. Adaptive functioning (t[73] = -8.42, p < .001) and preacademic skills (t[77] = -6.20, p < .001) were also significantly below expectations. Mean scores on a measure of parent-reported emotional/behavioral functioning were in the average range.

Conclusion: Young children with cancer may be at significant risk of deficits in intellectual, adaptive, and preacademic functioning. Although our sample is biased by those who were referred for clinical evaluations, the severity of deficits highlights the potential vulnerability of young patients, even before most have entered formal school. Interventions-such as hospital-based preschool programs to increase preacademic skills-should be designed that explicitly target preschool-aged children and focus on a wide range of domains.
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October 2017

Feasibility and acceptability of a remotely administered computerized intervention to address cognitive late effects among childhood cancer survivors.

Neurooncol Pract 2015 Jun 13;2(2):78-87. Epub 2015 Mar 13.

Department of Psychology , St Jude Children's Research Hospital , Memphis, Tennessee (L.E.C., J.M.A., K.N.C., K.M-E., V.W.W., H.M.C.); Division of Radiation Oncology , St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee (T.E.M.); Division of Translational Imaging Research , St Jude Children's Research Hospital , Memphis, Tennessee (R.J.O.); Department of Oncology , St Jude Children's Research Hospital , Memphis, Tennessee (S.J.); Department of Biostatistics , St Jude Children's Research Hospital , Memphis, Tennessee (L.H., H.Z.); Center for Neuroscience and Behavioral Medicine , Neuropsychology Division, Children's National Medical Center , Washington, DC (K.K.H.); Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science , George Washington University School of Medicine , Washington, DC (K.K.H).

Background: Childhood cancer survivors frequently develop working memory (WM) deficits as a result of disease and treatment. Medication-based and therapist-delivered interventions are promising but have limitations. Computerized interventions completed at home may be more appealing for survivors. We evaluated the feasibility and acceptability of a remotely administered, computerized WM intervention (Cogmed) for pediatric cancer survivors using a single-blind, randomized, wait-list control design.

Methods: Of 80 qualifying patients, 12 were excluded or declined to participate. Participants randomized to intervention ( = 34/68) included survivors of childhood brain tumors (32%) or acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL; 68%) between the ages of 8 and 16 years ([Formula: see text] = 12.2) who were at least 1 year post therapy ([Formula: see text] = 5.0). The majority of brain tumor participants were treated with cranial radiation therapy (72.7%), whereas most of the ALL participants were treated with chemotherapy only (87%). Participants completed 25 WM training sessions over 5-9 weeks at home with weekly phone-based coaching.

Results: Participants lived in 16 states. Compliance was strong, with 30 of the 34 participants (88%) completing intervention. Almost all participants completed pre- and postintervention neuroimaging exams (91% and 93%, respectively). Families had the necessary skills to utilize the computer program successfully. Caregivers reported they were generally able to find time to complete training (63%), viewed training as beneficial (70%), and would recommend this intervention to others (93%).

Conclusions: Cogmed is a feasible and acceptable intervention for childhood cancer survivors. It is a viable option for survivors who do not live in close proximity to cancer care centers. Efficacy and neural correlates of change are currently being evaluated.
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June 2015

Impact of tactile function on upper limb motor function in children with Developmental Coordination Disorder.

Res Dev Disabil 2015 Oct-Nov;45-46:373-83. Epub 2015 Aug 27.

Division of Physiotherapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia. Electronic address:

This study investigated the presence of, and relationship between tactile dysfunction and upper limb motor function in children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) compared to typical developing (TD) children. Participants were 36 children aged 6-12 years. Presence of DCD (n=20) or TD (n=16) was confirmed using the Movement Assessment Battery for Children, second edition. All children participated in a comprehensive assessment of tactile registration (Semmes Weinstein Monofilaments); tactile spatial perception (Single Point Localisation (SPL) and two-point discrimination (2PD)); haptic perception (Stereognosis); speed of simple everyday manual tasks (Jebsen-Taylor Test of Hand Function (JTTHF)); and handwriting speed and accuracy (Evaluation Tool of Children's Handwriting (ETCH)). Compared to TD children, children with DCD demonstrated poorer localisation of touch in the non-dominant hand (p=0.04), slower speed of alphabet writing (p<0.05) and less legible handwriting (p<0.01), but no difference in speed of simple everyday manual tasks (JTTHF: p>0.05). Regression analysis showed that spatial tactile perception (SPL) predicted handwriting legibility (ETCH: r=0.11) and speed of functional tasks (JTTHF: r=0.33). These results suggest that tactile function, specifically single point localisation, should be a primary tactile assessment employed to determine reasons for upper limb motor difficulties experienced by children with DCD.
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August 2016