Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Social Welfare

First Advisor

Phyllis Solomon


Purpose: This study evaluated the efficacy of a 12-session individualized cognitive remediation intervention, Focused Academic Strength Training (FAST), on academic persistence and progress of enrolled college students with psychiatric conditions. FAST targets executive functioning skills, specifically prospective memory, attention, learning and memory, and problem solving. Self-efficacy as a mediator was examined. Posthoc research questions explored FAST’s impact on working memory and attention and the impact of working memory and attention on the relationship between FAST and academic persistence. Methods: This study is an intent-to-treat, secondary analysis of a longitudinal, randomized controlled trial of college students randomized to participate in FAST or a control condition. Transcripts were collected at baseline and 2nd semester and self-efficacy and cognition scores were collected at baseline and 1st follow-up. Results: Generalized Estimating Equation analyses showed participants in the FAST condition were more likely to academically persist at 2nd semester than students in the control condition (p=.045). FAST improved self-efficacy, but self-efficacy did not act as a mediator. FAST had a large (d=.79) and medium (d=.72) effect size on working memory and attention, respectively, but were not significant. After adding working memory and attention as additional predictors of academic persistence, FAST approached significance (p=.061), but its effect size increased (d=1.063). Academic progress could not be evaluated due to the large number of first-year students at baseline. Implications: The results of this study will help to reconceptualize the reasons for attrition as well as develop and refine services to enhance academic persistence of college students with psychiatric conditions.


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