Date of Award

8-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Jennifer Bolden

Committee Members

Todd Moore, Erin Hardin

Abstract

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is associated with numerous pejorative outcomes in adults such as low frustration tolerance and deficits in central executive functioning. The present study aims to examine (1) the effect of induced frustration on working memory capacity (WMC) and (2) the unique contribution of ADHD symptoms and other commonly comorbid disorders (i.e., anxiety/depression and alcohol use) to frustration. Participants (N=66) were randomly assigned to either the control group (n=32) or the experimental group (n=34). The Frustration Induction Procedure (FIP) was administered to participants in the experimental group and a neutral, non-frustrating task was administered to a control group. A factor-analytic framework was utilized to assess WMC based on performance on three computerized tasks. WMC and baseline frustration levels were assessed both prior to and after inducing frustration. Participants provided four subjective ratings of frustration and blood pressure was assessed at four time points to assess changes in baseline frustration ratings and blood pressure. Results suggest that we were able to systematically induce subjective frustration for participants in the experimental group relative to the control group. WMC, however, was not associated with induced frustration in the present study, highlighting a need to examine the extent to which additional working memory-related performance variables (i.e., reaction time, latency to first response) are related to frustration. Finally, results indicate that ADHD symptoms, rather than anxiety/depression symptoms and hazardous drinking behavior, predict baseline frustration levels.

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