Credentials Display

Dr. Rachel B. Diamant, PhD, OTR/L, BCP

Dr. Natasha Smet, OTD, OTR/L


Background: Sensory processing behaviors, the temperament characteristic for effortful control, and executive function promote self-regulation, activity engagement, and problem-solving. This study examined inter-relationships between executive function, effortful control, and sensory processing in school-aged children between 7 and 10.11 years of age.

Method: Descriptive correlation research design was used to examine relationships of outcomes from three caregiver-reported, standardized questionnaires of behaviors related to sensory processing (Sensory Profile-2), effortful control (Temperament in Middle Childhood Questionnaire) and executive function (Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-2) in daily activities (N = 19).

Results: Data analysis using descriptive statistics and Spearman’s R revealed statistically significant (p-value < .05) positive and negative correlations between constructs of executive function, effortful control, and sensory processing behaviors. Only positive correlations were found between sensory processing behaviors and executive function.

Conclusion: Findings indicate that typical responses to sensory experiences were related to typical abilities for executive function and effortful control, whereas increased sensory reactivity was associated with decreased abilities for executive function and effortful control along with an increased expression of impulsivity, reduced attention, and decreased on-task behavior. Outcomes support the need to address sensory responsiveness and reactivity in the context to support behavior management for effortful control and executive function.


The authors declare that they have no competing financial, professional, or personal interest that might have influenced the performance or presentation of the work described in this manuscript.