Executive functions in preschool children with aggressive behavior: impairments in inhibitory control

M. Raaijmakers, D.P. Smidts, J.A. Sergeant, G.H. Maassen, J.A. Posthumus, H. van Engeland, W. Matthys

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

207 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The question whether executive function (EF) deficits in children are associated with conduct problems remains controversial. Although the origins of aggressive behavior are to be found in early childhood, findings from EF studies in preschool children with aggressive behavior are inconsistent. The current study aimed to investigate whether preschool children with aggressive behavior show impairments in EF. From a population-based sample, 82 preschool children who were showing aggressive behavior as indicated by scores at or above the 93rd percentile on the Aggressive Behavior Scale of the CBCL 1 1/2-5 were selected. These children with aggressive behavior were matched on IQ to a group of typically developing control children (N=99). Six neuropsychological tasks were administered to assess set shifting, inhibition, working memory and verbal fluency. A factor analysis was conducted which yielded one clear factor: inhibition. Aggressive preschool children showed poorer performance on this inhibition factor than control children and boys performed worse on this factor than girls. This association between aggressive behavior and inhibition deficits was maintained after controlling for attention problems. In addition, gender differences in all EFs measured were found with boys exhibiting more impairment in EF than girls. These findings demonstrate that preschool children with aggressive behavior show impairments in inhibition, irrespective of attention problems. © 2008 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1097-1107
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Volume36
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Executive functions in preschool children with aggressive behavior: impairments in inhibitory control'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this