Examining the Association Between Executive Functions and Developmental Domains of Low-Income Children in the United States and Turkey

Psychol Rep. 2019 Feb;122(1):155-179. doi: 10.1177/0033294118756334. Epub 2018 Feb 13.


This study examined the relations between executive functions and developmental domains of preschool children from low-income families through an intercultural perspective in the U.S. and Turkey. A total of 471 children and their primary caregivers participated in the Turkey part of the study, while 286 children and their parents engaged in U.S. sample. Regression analyses revealed that fine motor, problem solving, and executive functions of children between two contexts were significantly different from each other. In the U.S., executive functions predicted communication, problem solving, and fine motor development, whereas in the Turkish sample, executive functions did not predict domain scores. Child gender predicted four of five developmental outcomes in the U.S., whereas maternal education predicted two of five outcomes in Turkey. In addition, invariance testing demonstrated that predictors to outcomes were not significantly different between the two countries. Country differences from the first set of outcomes were explained in the context of the research sites, children's socialization, and cultural expectations surrounding child development. This study raises questions about relations between executive functions and developmental domains for future research.

Keywords: Executive functions; child development; cross-cultural research; low income; preschoolers.

MeSH terms

  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Executive Function / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Poverty*
  • Problem Solving / physiology*
  • Turkey
  • United States