This study examined the impact of executive function (EF) and emotional control and understanding on the behavioral functioning and academic achievement of 86 homeless children, ages 9 to 11. Executive function skills were assessed using parent report, child's performance on four standard behavioral tasks, and teacher report. Emotional control was assessed using parent report on standard measures of emotion regulation. Emotional understanding was assessed using child performance on a standard measure of affect recognition. Risk and adversity were assessed using parent report on widely used measures of sociodemographic variables, and negative and stressful life events. Indices of behavioral functioning included parent and teacher report of externalizing and internalizing problems. Indices of academic achievement included child's performance on standard measures of mathematical operations and word reading. Results indicate that executive function may be an important marker of academic achievement and behavioral functioning. Performance on executive function tasks predicted academic achievement, and parent reports of internalizing behaviors. Executive function emerged a unique predictor above and beyond children's general intelligence, a key correlate of achievement and behavioral functioning among both low and high risk samples. The effects of risk and adversity, specifically negative and stressful events experienced in the past 12 months, emerged as a unique predictor of achievement and behavioral functioning. Children who experienced more recent negative and stressful life events had lower academic achievement and higher parent reported externalizing and internalizing behaviors. Emotional control emerged as a unique predictor of academic achievement, above and beyond executive function and children's intelligence, suggesting that aspects of emotion regulation are important for academic functioning and success. Implications of these findings are discussed with relation to future intervention and the potential of EF as a focus of intervention.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2012. Major:Child Psychology. Advisor:Ann S. Masten. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 123 pages.
LaFavor, Theresa L..
The impact of executive function and emotional control and understanding on the behavioral functioning and academic achievement of children living in emergency homeless shelters..
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital
Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use
restrictions applied by the depositor.