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The structure of executive functioning in 11 to 14 year olds with and without special educational needs

Messer, D. J., Kearvell-White, J., Danielsson, H. , Faulkner, D., Henry, L. ORCID: 0000-0001-5422-4358 & Ibbotson, P. (2022). The structure of executive functioning in 11 to 14 year olds with and without special educational needs. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, doi: 10.1111/bjdp.12418


The structure and development of executive functioning (EF) have been intensively studied in typically developing populations, with little attention given to those with Special Educational Needs (SEN). This study addresses this by comparing the EF structure of 132 adolescents (11-14 years-old) with SEN and 138 adolescents not requiring additional support (Non-SEN peers). Participants completed verbal and non-verbal assessments of key components of EF: inhibition, working memory and switching. Confirmatory Factor Analysis on each group tested one-, two- and three-factor models of EF. In both groups, there was statistical support for the fit of one- and two-factor models with no model being clearly better than the others; there was little support for three-factor models. Parsimony suggests that the one factor model best represents the structure of EF. In light of our results, the implications for the nature of EF in early adolescence in both SEN and Non-SEN groups are discussed.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made. © 2022 The Authors. British Journal of Developmental Psycholog y published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Psychological Society.
Publisher Keywords: Executive Functioning, Adolescence, Special Educational Needs, Confirmatory Factor Analysis
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
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Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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