Conceptualizing the relations between metacognition and executive functions in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) patients’ caregivers. A preliminary study

Stefania La Foresta, Sonia Messina, Cristina Faraone, Giovanna Pistorino, Giuseppe Vita, Christian Lunetta, Maria Catena Quattropani


Executive Functions are goal-directed neurocognitive processes that allow the management of cognition and behavior. Executive Functions are essential to allow people to set goals, self-monitor, inhibit inappropriate responses, and generally engage in well-planned, flexible, future-oriented behavior. Metacognitive processes, in close alliance with executive functions, are viewed as integral components of awareness and emotional regulation. The influence of metacognition on planning, monitoring and mental flexibility has not been investigated. The aim of this pilot study was to examine the relationship between metacognition and executive functions in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis patient's caregivers. Twenty-two caregivers were evaluated using the following instruments: Metacognition Questionnaire-30 and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test.

Data analysis was performed using SPSS for Windows applying correlational analysis (Spearman’s Rho). We founded that total score of metacognition is positive correlated with number of perseverative errors made in Wisconsin (0.75 p<.001). In particular, need to control thoughts is positive correlated with number of perseverative errors (0.78 p<.001). Results could suggest the importance to explore the relationship between metacognitive processes and executive functions in order to cope disease’s changes and optimize the relative daily living management. Providing care to a Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis relative may cause feelings of burden, psychological distress, anxiety or depression, in particular in case of dysfunctional metacognitions. So, our future researches will be oriented to explore the relationship between psycopatological symptoms and metacognition and executive functions in ALS’caregivers in order to contain caregiver emotional burden.


Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS); Executive functions; Metacognition; Caregiver

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