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Early medical and social-environmental predictors of executive functioning and behavioural outcomes in four- to five-year-old children

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posted on 2024-04-19, 01:09 authored by Holly MolnarHolly Molnar

Executive functioning (EF) refers to a collection of higher-order cognitive processes, including shifting, updating, and inhibition. Previous research suggests that numerous medical and social-environmental factors increase the risk of cognitive and behavioural deficits associated with EF in preschool age children. Thus, the current study examined how key variables including (a) gestational age, (b) socioeconomic risk, and (c) quality of parenting behaviours predict EF and behaviour outcomes in four- to five-year-old children based on caregiver ratings. A total of 120 participants (52 parents of preterm children; 68 parents of term children) completed an online questionnaire used to assess their child’s EF. The questionnaire included subtests from the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function – Preschool Version (BRIEF-P) and the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL). Overall, the results revealed that socioeconomic risk was not a strong predictor of EF and behaviour outcomes. However, both gestational age and quality of parenting behaviour had strong negative associations with children’s EF and behaviour. In particular, lower parental limit setting significantly predicted poorer functioning and thus, should be a target for early intervention programs and supports. The findings suggest that parenting behaviours may play a more important role than social risk in the development of EF in young children.

History

Sub-type

  • Master's Thesis

Pagination

vii, 74 pages

Department/School

School of Psychological Sciences

Publisher

University of Tasmania

Event title

Graduation

Date of Event (Start Date)

2023-12-15

Rights statement

Copyright 2023 the author

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