Relationship of Internalizing Behavior Problems to Intelligence and Executive Functioning in Children




McClintock, Shawn Michael

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The current theme of research regarding children has focused greatly on emotional intelligence, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and other problems involving emotional disorders. While there is a great amount of research devoted to these topics, there is a lack of consensus on the effects these emotional disorders have on the areas of intelligence and executive functioning in children. This study examined the relationship between internalizing behavior problems (depression, anxiety, and social withdrawal) and intelligence and executive functioning in children. Archival data, from 75 children between the ages of 6 and 14, were used. The sample consisted of children with internalizing behavior problems and children without internalizing or externalizing behavior problems, which was classified using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Each child was evaluated using the Wechsler Intelligence scale for Children-Third Edition (WISC-III), Children's Executive Function Scale (CEFS), and the Category Test. Results indicated that children with internalizing behavior problems performed significantly worse in domains of global executive function, problem solving, and initiative. No significant differences were found between the control and internalizing groups in the domain of intellectual functioning. This study supports the premise that executive function and intelligence are separate domains and should both be assessed in children with internalizing behavior disorders.

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