Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Jessica Glass Kendorski, PhD, NCSP, BCBA-D


Decades of research on executive functions (EF) have shown that this psychological construct is complex and multifaceted. Although the association between EF deficits and emotional and behavioral difficulties demonstrated by students with the EBD classification have also been made clear, the specific nature of these associations needs further exploration. The current study used archival data from the McCloskey Executive Functions Scale (MEFS) to examine parent and teacher ratings to understand further the EF deficits exhibited by students classified with EBD. Overall, the results reflected that higher percentages of students in an EBD group than a control group were rated as having an executive function deficit (EFD) or an executive skill deficit (ESD) for nearly all the items in the seven self-regulation clusters; however, not all these differences were statistically significant. Significant differences were found for some items in all clusters, except for the Memory Cluster. Teacher and parent ratings for 64% of the items of the Optimization Cluster yielded significant differences between the two groups. In addition, the proportion of students in the EBD group rated as having an ESD for items in the Optimization Cluster was larger than in any other cluster. Parent and teacher ratings in four of the seven clusters (Attention, Engagement, Optimization, Inquiry) reflected more EFDs and ESDs for items in the Academic Arena than the Self/Social Arena for students in the EBD group. Limitations and future directions of the study also are discussed.

Included in

Psychology Commons