The Kennedy Krieger Independence Scales-Sickle Cell Disease: Executive Components of Transition Readiness

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Abstract

Purpose/Objective: Youth with sickle cell disease (SCD) are at an increased risk for executive dysfunction and simultaneously have increased self-management needs compared to typical adolescents. This unique combination may contribute, in part, to difficulties during transition to young adulthood. Current measures assessing adaptive skills do not assess the executive components (e.g., initiation, prospective memory) of SCD-related self-care tasks. Modeled on the KKIS-Spina Bifida (Jacobson et al., 2013), the Kennedy Krieger Independence Scales-Sickle Cell Disease (KKIS-SCD) is a new caregiver-report measure that assesses independence with self-management of SCD-specific demands as well as routine daily activities in adolescents with SCD. Research Method/Design: Thirty-three youth with SCD and their caregivers participated in this preliminary validation study examining the construct validity of the KKIS-SCD total and composite scores (Initiation of Routines, Prospective Memory) and exploring relationships of this measure with intellectual functioning, demographic factors, illness severity, and age. Results: The KKIS-SCD exhibited generally good internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha = .733 to .803), and demonstrated evidence for construct and discriminant validity when compared to an existing measure of adaptive function. The KKIS-SCD was significantly associated with caregiver-report of executive behaviors but not with intellectual functioning, demographic factors, illness severity, or age. Conclusions/Implications: Results provide preliminary support for the KKIS-SCD as a reliable and valid tool for the assessment of executive components of self-care management skills for youth with SCD. Identifying specific weaknesses in executive function related to self-care management skills might assist in guiding intervention and individualizing transition planning in these at-risk youth.

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