Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Douglas Barnett


Research has demonstrated negative outcomes associated with significant childhood cognitive, behavioral, emotional, or academic problems. These associations may reflect the importance of cognitive skills for mediating social and emotional functioning, however the directions of these relations remain a point of contention. Additionally, most of the child research is based on early editions of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. Little attention has been given to examining the relations between behavioral adjustment, achievement, and IQ utilizing the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-IV). The WISC-IV uses different subtests, index scores, and norms than its predecessors and has been described as being better designed to produce more reliable and valid intellectual profiles.

The current study included 321 children referred for academic concerns, and sought to improve on prior studies by comparing WISC-IV and WISC-III profiles as they related to parent report of child emotional and behavioral problems in a diverse, primarily low-income sample. The current study found significant differences between the WISC III and WISC IV in their relation to behavior problems. The potential contributing factors to these differences were discussed. Additionally, intellectual abilities were significantly associated with children's reading and math achievement. Child attention problems, assessed by parent report and child performance, were associated with reading and math achievement over and above verbal and nonverbal intellectual abilities. Of particular interest, these results indicate that observable difficulties maintaining attention, as captured by parent report of attention problems, may be particularly important in math abilities. Taken together, these results have important implications for the psychological assessment process as well as interventions targeting improved outcomes for children's behavioral, emotional, and academic development.