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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience