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Cadernos de Pós-Graduação em Distúrbios do Desenvolvimento

Print version ISSN 1519-0307On-line version ISSN 1809-4139


SEGAMARCHI, Paula Racca; SEGRETTI, Letícia  and  SILVA, Jader Brito Ramos da. Association between executive functions and behavior problems: an integrative literature review. Cad. Pós-Grad. Distúrb. Desenvolv. [online]. 2021, vol.21, n.1, pp. 84-108. ISSN 1519-0307.

Emotional/behavioral problems can be classified as internalizing, which comprise disorders with anxious, depressive and somatic symptoms; and externalizing, which refer to disorders with impulsive, disruptive and substance use symptoms. As for executive functions, they are essential skills for success, whether in school or in life, that promote and organize behaviors aimed at goals. This literature review proposed to analyze the publications that correlate these two themes, in order to carefully synthesize the evidence available in the last five years and indicate possible directions for future investigations. The information was obtained in September 2020 from the Pubmed database, with the following descriptors: executive functions and behavior problems; executive functions and behavior problem; executive function and behavior problems; and executive function and behavior problem. 98 papers in English were identified since 2015. Of these, 15 repeated articles were excluded. From this, a selection was made by reading the titles, excluding works whose participants had any previous diagnosis, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), leaving 20 articles. Of the 20, ten were excluded after reading the summary, as they also dealt with children with associated conditions, such as, for example, epilepsy or ADHD. There were ten articles left that were selected and analyzed. It was concluded that there is evidence regarding the relationship between these variables in the literature, indicating that executive functions play an important role in emotional regulation, which reinforces the importance of broad assessments being carried out early, since the identification of impairments in functions and the presence of emotional/behavioral problems allows efforts in terms of prevention, in addition to the development of intervention strategies.

Keywords : Executive functions; Behavioral problems; Emotional problems; Behavior problems; Self-regulation.

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