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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Health, health related quality of life and executive functioning in young adults diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder Ghani, Aisha


Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a disorder caused by prenatal alcohol exposure which leads to neurobehavioral, psychological, and adaptive functioning impairments. It has been well established that executive functioning in this population is significantly impaired. Further, recent research has demonstrated that when compared to the general population, the FASD population has a greater prevalence of chronic health conditions including auto-immune disorders, immune conditions, cardiac disease, and glucose tolerance abnormalities. Executive functioning skills are important in managing chronic health conditions and research has demonstrated that they influence quality of life in multiple clinical populations. However, this relationship has not been examined in the FASD population, where executive functioning deficits are characteristic. Therefore, the purpose of the present study is to understand how executive functioning ability in young adults diagnosed with FASD relates to the presence of their chronic health condition(s) as well as their health related quality of life. To our knowledge, previous research has not investigated these variables in this population before and so this research is considered exploratory. Young adults (between age 15-29) diagnosed with FASD or FAS who were fluent in English were recruited to participate. A total of 12 participants were included in the analysis, with exactly half being diagnosed with at least one chronic health condition, and the majority of participants reporting some impairment in health related quality of life and in executive functioning. Non-parametric statistics (specifically Spearman Rank Correlations and the Mann-Whitney U test) were used to analyze the data. The findings suggest a relationship between the presence of chronic health conditions and health related quality of life, and between executive functioning and health related quality of life. A relationship was not observed between the presence of chronic health conditions and executive function.

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