Executive functioning as a mediator of conduct problems prevention in children of homeless families residing in temporary supportive housing: A parallel process latent growth modeling approach

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Abstract

A culturally diverse sample of formerly homeless youth (ages 6-12) and their families (n∈=∈223) participated in a cluster randomized controlled trial of the Early Risers conduct problems prevention program in a supportive housing setting. Parents provided 4 annual behaviorally-based ratings of executive functioning (EF) and conduct problems, including at baseline, over 2 years of intervention programming, and at a 1-year follow-up assessment. Using intent-to-treat analyses, a multilevel latent growth model revealed that the intervention group demonstrated reduced growth in conduct problems over the 4 assessment points. In order to examine mediation, a multilevel parallel process latent growth model was used to simultaneously model growth in EF and growth in conduct problems along with intervention status as a covariate. A significant mediational process emerged, with participation in the intervention promoting growth in EF, which predicted negative growth in conduct problems. The model was consistent with changes in EF fully mediating intervention-related changes in youth conduct problems over the course of the study. These findings highlight the critical role that EF plays in behavioral change and lends further support to its importance as a target in preventive interventions with populations at risk for conduct problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)681-692
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Volume42
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2014

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Keywords

  • Conduct problems
  • Executive functioning
  • Homelessness
  • Mediation
  • Preventive intervention

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