Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Jennifer Bolden Bush
Aaron Buss, Chris Elledge, Brian Wilhoit
Two foundational constructs associated with self-regulation, effortful control (EC) and executive functions (EF), are thought to influence the development of self-regulation and other related developmental abilities, such as visual planning organization abilities. The current study had two aims: (1) examine the shared and unique aspects of EF and EC; and (2) examine the extent to which shared and unique aspects of EF and EC influence visual planning/organization abilities. A community sample of children (N = 25) between the ages of 8 and 12 years completed psychological assessments measuring EC, EFs, visual planning and organization. It was predicted that: (1) EF and EC would overlap based on indicator variables that measure similar processes (e.g., ANT Conflicting) and diverge into at least two different factors representing EF (e.g., DKEFS Trails) and EC (e.g., ANT Alerting), respectively; (2) better performance on EF and EC measures will be significantly related to better visual planning and organization abilities; (3) both shared and unique aspects of EC and EF will contribute to visual planning and organization abilities; and (4) better performance on EC measures will significantly strengthen the relation between EF and visual planning and organization abilities. Results of an EFA (tier 1) supported a two-factor structure (i.e., an EF factor and an EC factor), with attentional conflicting loading onto both factors. Results of a multiple regression and a moderated multiple regression (tier 2) indicated that while EF rather than EC contributed uniquely to visual planning and organization abilities, EC did not moderate the relation between EF and visual planning and organization abilities. Moreover, the association between EF and visual planning and organization becomes nonsignificant when controlling for both age and intelligence. Implications of the results and future research are discussed.
Mariotti, Emily C., "A Preliminary Study of Executive Functions, Effortful Control, and Visual Planning and Organization in Neurotypical Children. " PhD diss., University of Tennessee, 2022.
Available for download on Tuesday, August 15, 2028