Executive function moderates the relationship between temperament and psychological difficulties in middle childhood

Jennifer Wilson, Christy Hogan, Si Wang, Glenda Andrews, David Shum (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

Abstract

The current study examined the possible moderating influence of hot and cool executive function (EF) on the relationship between temperament and psychological difficulties in middle childhood. One hundred and twenty-six children and their parents (n = 105) participated. Children aged between 5 and 12 years completed three hot (motivational decision-making on the Cambridge Gambling Task (CGT), delayed gratification, and Theory of Mind [ToM]) and three cool EF (working memory, inhibition, and attentional set shifting) measures. Children’s parents completed the Behavioral Inhibition Sensitivity (BIS) and Behavioral Approach Sensitivity (BAS) Scale and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Hot EF (CGT, ToM) exacerbated the relationship between BAS and externalizing problems. Neither hot nor cool EF moderated the relationship between BIS and internalizing problems. The current findings provide further evidence of a hot-cool distinction in EF in middle childhood, suggesting that these constructs should be investigated separately when assessing EF. In addition, by considering potential interactions between temperament and EF, clinicians/researchers may be able to predict broad categories of psychological problems in middle childhood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)831-852
Number of pages22
JournalChild Neuropsychology
Volume28
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2022

Keywords

  • BIS/BAS sensitivity
  • Executive function
  • middle childhood
  • psychological difficulties
  • temperament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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