Conversion disorder in children and adolescents: a disorder of cognitive control

Kasia Kozlowska*, Donna M. Palmer, Kerri J. Brown, Stephen Scher, Catherine Chudleigh, Fiona Davies, Leanne M. Williams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


ObjectiveTo assess cognitive function in children and adolescents presenting with acute conversion symptoms.

MethodsFifty-seven participants aged 8.5-18years (41 girls and 16 boys) with conversion symptoms and 57 age- and gender-matched healthy controls completed the IntegNeuro neurocognitive battery, an estimate of intelligence, and self-report measures of subjective emotional distress.

ResultsParticipants with conversion symptoms showed poorer performance within attention, executive function, and memory domains. Poorer performance was reflected in more errors on specific tests: Switching of Attention (t(79)=2.17, p=.03); Verbal Interference (t(72)=2.64, p=.01); Go/No-Go (t(73)=2.20, p=.03); Memory Recall and Verbal Learning (interference errors for memory recall; t(61)=3.13, p

ConclusionsChildren and adolescents with acute conversion symptoms have a reduced capacity to manipulate and retain information, to block interfering information, and to inhibit responses, all of which are required for effective attention, executive function, and memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-108
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of neuropsychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • conversion disorders
  • dissociative disorder
  • neurocognitive tests
  • attention
  • executive function and control
  • memory
  • dynamic-maturational model

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