Using a multidimensional model of attention to predict low-income preschoolers’ early academic skills across time

Katherine A. Shannon, Gaia Scerif, C. Cybele Raver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The current study examines the organization of attention skills across the preschool year before kindergarten, and tests how distinct attention subcomponents predict early academic skills in a sample of low-income children (n = 99). Children completed well-validated attention tasks in fall at 4.5 years old and spring at 5 years old, capturing the abilities to selectively focus, sustain attention, and employ executive control. Exploratory factor analyses at both time points support a 2-factor model differentiating selective and sustained attention from attention processing speed and executive attention, suggesting that attention in low-income preschoolers may have a simpler organization than the 3-factor structure found in adulthood. Multiple regression models find children's ability to selectively focus and sustain attention serves as a robust concurrent and longitudinal predictor of academic skills. These results highlight the role of selective and sustained attention processes in supporting school readiness for economically vulnerable children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13025
JournalDevelopmental science
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Keywords

  • attention
  • early academic skills
  • exploratory factor analysis
  • longitudinal
  • low-income
  • preschool

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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