Susan J Cockshell

University of Adelaide, Tarndarnya, South Australia, Australia

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Publications (5)14.44 Total impact

  • Susan J Cockshell · Jane L Mathias
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between subjective and objective assessments of memory and attention in people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), using tests that have previously detected deficits in CFS samples and measures of potential confounds. Method: Fifty people with CFS and 50 healthy controls were compared on subjective (memory and attention symptom severity, Cognitive Failures Questionnaire, Everyday Attention Questionnaires) and objective (California Verbal Learning Test, Rey-Osterreith Complex Figure Test, Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test, Stroop task) measures of memory and attention. Fatigue, sleep, depression, and anxiety were also assessed. Results: The CFS group reported experiencing more cognitive problems than the controls, but the two groups did not differ on the cognitive tests. Scores on the subjective and objective measures were not correlated in either group. Depression was positively correlated with increased severity of cognitive problems in both the CFS and control groups. Conclusions: There is little evidence for a relationship between subjective and objective measures of cognitive functioning for both people with CFS and healthy controls, which suggests that they may be capturing different constructs. Problems with memory and attention in everyday life are a significant part of CFS. Depression appears to be related to subjective problems but does not fully explain them. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
    Neuropsychology 12/2013; 28(3). DOI:10.1037/neu0000025 · 3.43 Impact Factor
  • Susan J Cockshell · Jane L Mathias
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To examine cognitive deficits in people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and their relationship to psychological status, CFS symptoms, and everyday functioning. Method: The current study compared the cognitive performance (reaction time, attention, memory, motor functioning, verbal abilities, and visuospatial abilities) of a sample with CFS (n = 50) with that of a sample of healthy controls (n = 50), all of whom had demonstrated high levels of effort and an intention to perform well, and examined the extent to which psychological status, CFS symptoms, and everyday functioning were related to cognitive performance. Results: The CFS group showed impaired information processing speed (reaction time), relative to the controls, but comparable performance on tests of attention, memory, motor functioning, verbal ability, and visuospatial ability. Moreover, information processing speed was not related to psychiatric status, depression, anxiety, the number or severity of CFS symptoms, fatigue, sleep quality, or everyday functioning. Conclusion: A slowing in information processing speed appears to be the main cognitive deficit seen in persons with CFS whose performance on effort tests is not compromised. Importantly, this slowing does not appear to be the consequence of other CFS-related variables, such as depression and fatigue, or motor speed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
    Neuropsychology 03/2013; 27(2):230-42. DOI:10.1037/a0032084 · 3.43 Impact Factor
  • Susan J Cockshell · Jane L Mathias
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    ABSTRACT: The current study examined the potential contribution of suboptimal effort to the cognitive deficits that are associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) using the Validity Indicator Profile (VIP). Unlike most tests of effort, the VIP distinguishes between intentional and unintentional poor performance and does not assess cognitive functions that are affected by CFS, thereby reducing the risk of mistakenly attributing genuinely poor performance to reduced effort. The VIP was administered to 54 persons with CFS and 54 matched healthy community controls, and performance categorized into 1 of 4 response styles (valid: compliant; invalid: suppressed, irrelevant, inconsistent), based on the level of effort expended (high or low) and the intention to perform well or not. VIP performance was classified as valid for the majority of participants (CFS and controls), indicating high levels of effort and an intention to perform well. Three participants in the CFS group and four in the control group showed low levels of effort but an intention to do well (invalid: inconsistent). No participant performed in a manner indicative of an intent to perform poorly (invalid: suppressed, inconsistent). These findings suggest that poor effort is unlikely to contribute to cognitive test performance of persons with CFS.
    Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology 03/2012; 34(7):679-87. DOI:10.1080/13803395.2012.668176 · 2.16 Impact Factor
  • S J Cockshell · J L Mathias
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    ABSTRACT: Cognitive problems are commonly reported in persons with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and are one of the most disabling symptoms of this condition. A number of cognitive deficits have been identified, although the findings are inconsistent and hindered by methodological differences. The current study therefore conducted a meta-analysis of research examining cognitive functioning in persons with CFS in order to identify the pattern and magnitude of any deficits that are associated with this condition. A comprehensive search of the PubMed and PsycINFO databases for studies that examined cognitive functioning in CFS between 1988 and 2008 identified 50 eligible studies. Weighted Cohen's d effect sizes, 95% confidence intervals and fail-safe Ns were calculated for each cognitive score. Evidence of cognitive deficits in persons with CFS was found primarily in the domains of attention, memory and reaction time. Deficits were not apparent on tests of fine motor speed, vocabulary, reasoning and global functioning. Persons with CFS demonstrate moderate to large impairments in simple and complex information processing speed and in tasks requiring working memory over a sustained period of time.
    Psychological Medicine 08/2010; 40(8):1253-67. DOI:10.1017/S0033291709992054 · 5.43 Impact Factor
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    Kingsley Fletcher · Ashley Arnold · Susan Cockshell
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    ABSTRACT: The Common Warfighting Symbology Standard Bravo version (MIL-STD-2525B) is a contractual requirement for a number of Australian defence projects. To evaluate how well MIL-STD-2525B supports rapid and accurate detection of symbols in clutter the current study examined the speed and accuracy with which 23 participants could detect the presence of each MIL-STD-2525B air affiliation symbol when symbol overlap and icon presence were manipulated. Detection efficiency and accuracy were significantly lower for MIL-STD-2525B friend, assumed friend, suspect and hostile symbols than for neutral and unknown symbols. Symbol overlap significantly reduced detection efficiency and accuracy. Icon presence reduced detection efficiency only. The results indicate that it was difficult to detect important air symbols in MIL-STD-2525B. The study also examined detection of friend, assumed friend, suspect and hostile symbols from the updated version of the standard, MIL-STD-2525C. The MIL-STD-2525C representation of suspect affiliation improved detection efficiency for suspect and hostile symbols compared to MIL-STD-2525B but the representation of assumed friend affiliation produced poorer detection efficiency for assumed friend and friend symbols. Thus the change to the suspect symbol proposed in MIL-STD-2525C appeared to be effective, but further work is required to modify the assumed friend symbol within the scope of the standard to improve the detection performance of friend and assumed friend symbols.