Lack of engagement in pleasant activities and negative mood are two factors that decrease quality of life (QoL) for older adults with moderate to severe cognitive impairment. As enhancing QoL has become a primary treatment outcome for individuals with cognitive impairment, investigation into the ability of nonpharmacological interventions to increase engagement and positive mood has come to the forefront of research. Cognitive training is a nonpharmacological intervention that utilizes manualized techniques with the primary goal of enhancing different areas of cognitive function. Although the cognitive benefits of the programs have been widely investigated and established, the potential benefits that cognitive training programs may have on increasing engagement in activities and reducing negative affect have been largely unstudied. This study investigated the effects of a cognitive training program on engagement in activity and affect for individuals with moderate to severe cognitive impairment through behavioral observation. An alternating treatment design was utilized to compare engagement and affect during cognitive training program sessions and regularly scheduled activities at a residential community for older adults. Results indicated the utility of cognitive training programs for increasing active engagement during the program sessions while affect and QoL remained unchanged.


Jeffrey A. Buchanan

Committee Member

Daniel Houlian

Committee Member

Angelica Aguirre

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)




Social and Behavioral Sciences


Rights Statement

In Copyright