Emotional Control and Executive Functions of Student in the Transition to the Junior Secondary Stage of Basic School

Main Article Content

Monika Bobakova
Miriam Slavkovska
Ivan Ropovik
Iveta Kovalcikova
Jan Ferjencik


Parallel development of executive functions and self-regulation skills play an important role in social adaptation during the transition to the junior secondary stage of basic school. This paper deals with interrelations of executive functions and emotional control. These relationships are not yet sufficiently clarified and are thus the subject of many discussions in professional circles. Attention is also paid here to gender differences in executive functions. The research sample consisted of 54 pupils (33 girls and 21 boys) with a mean age of 9.4 years. Within the concept of executive functions, the paper focuses on the level of inhibition, switching, verbal and figural fluency and working memory. The Delis - Kaplan Executive Function System (D - KEFS) test battery by the authors Delis et al., (2001), and the intelligence scales Woodcock - Johnson International Edition (WJ - IE Slovak Edition) by the authors Ruef et al., 2001 were administered to examine these functions. Emotional control was measured by a BRIEF questionnaire based on evaluation of the pupils by their teachers. The hypotheses were confirmed only partially. On the one hand, a significant correlation was found between the emotional control of pupils, according to evaluation by  their teachers, and executive functions (intercorrelations ranging from r =.21 tor = .25). On the other hand though, the significance of the relationship was not confirmed by the regression analysis. Gender differences in the observed executive functions were not confirmed either. Results are discussed here in relation to the assessment of pupils from the general population using the BRIEF questionnaire and to the given age of the children.

Article Details

Author Biographies

Monika Bobakova, University of Presov

Monika Bobáková, lecturer and researcher at the Faculty of Education, University of Presov. Field of interest: emotions, coping, cognitive abilities and gifted children. She can be contacted at monika.bobakova@unipo.sk.

Miriam Slavkovska, University of P. J. Safarik

Miriam Slavkovska, lecturer and researcher at the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, University of P. J. Safarik, Slovak Republic. She is interested in the assessment and treatment of patients with cognitive deficits as a result of degenerative diseases and can be contacted at miriam.slavkovska@upjs.sk.

Ivan Ropovik, University of Presov

Ivan Ropovik, researcher at the Faculty of Education, University of Presov, Slovak Republic. His field of interest covers measurement and methodology and he can be contacted at ivan.ropovik@unipo.sk.

Iveta Kovalcikova, University of Presov

Iveta Kovalcikova, associate professor, researcher at the Faculty of Education, University of Presov, Slovak Republic. Her field of expertise is assesment of cognitive capacities of pupils in elementary school.

Jan Ferjencik, University of P. J. Safarik

Jan Ferjencik, researcher at the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, University of P. J. Safarik, Slovak Republic. Field of interest: statistics, human resource management jan.ferjencik@upjs.sk. 


Anderson, P. (2002). Assessment and development of executive function during childhood. Child Neuropsychology, 8, 71-82.
Anderson, V. A., Anderson, P., Northam, E., Jacobs, R., & Catroppa, C. (2001). Development of executive functions through late childhood and adolescence in an Australian sample. Developmental Neuropsychology, 20, 385-406.
Bayer, U., & Hausmann, M. (2009). Estrogen therapy effects right hemisphere functioning in postmenopausal women.Hormones and Behavior, 55, 228-234.
Carter, A. S., Briggs-Gowan, M. J., Jones, S. M., & Little, T. D. (2003). The infant-toddler social and emotional assessment (ITSEA): Factor structure, reliability, and validity. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 31, 495–514.
Delis, D. C., Kaplan, E., & Kramer, J. H. (2001). Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System:Technical Manual. San Antonio, TX: Harcourt Assessment Company.
Denckla, M. B. (2005). A theory and model of executive function: A neuropsychological perspective. In Attention, memory, and executive function. Baltimore: P. H. Brookes, pp. 263–278.
Eslinger, P. J. (2005). Conceptualizing, describing, and measuring components of executive function: A summary. In Attention, memory, and executive function. Baltimore: P. H. Brookes, pp. 367–395.
Gioia, G. A., Isquith, P. K., Guy, S. C., & Kenworthy, L. (2000). BRIEF:Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function: Professional Manual. Lutz, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc.
Gyurak, A., Goodkind, M. S., Madan, A., Kramer, J. H., Miller, B. L., & Levenson, R. W. (2009). Do tests of executive functioning predict ability to downregulate emotions spontaneously and when instructed to suppress? Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience, 9, 2, 144-152.
Hughes, C., & Graham, A. (2002). Measuring Executive functions in childhood: Problems and Solutions? Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 7, 131–142.
Koukolík, F. (2012). Lidský mozek. Funkční systémy. Norma a poruchy. Český Těšín: Galén.
Levin, H. S., Culhane, K. A., Hartmann, J., Evankovich, K., Mattson, A. J., Harward, H., Ringholz, G., Ewing-Cobbs, L., & Fletcher, J. M. (1991). Developmental changes in performance on tests of purported frontal lobe functioning. Developmental Neuropsychology, 7, 377–395.
Nader-Grosbois, N. (2011). Self-Regulation, Dysregulation, Emotion Regulation and Their Impact on Cognitive and Socio-Emotional Abilities in Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders. In Autism Spectrum Disorders- From Genes to Environment. Rijeka: InTech, pp. 243-286.
Olson E. A., & Luciana M. (2008). The development of prefrontal cortex functions in adolescence: Theorectical models and a possible dissociation of dorsal versus ventral subregions. In Handbook of developmental cognitive neuroscience. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 575–590.
Preiss, M., & Kučerová, H., at al. (2006). Neuropsychologie v psychiatrii. Praha: Grada Publishing.
Siqueira, L. S., Scherer, L. C., Reppold, C. T., & Fonseca, R. P. (2010). Hayling Test – adult version: applicability in the assessment of executive functions in children.Psychology & Neuroscience, 3, 189–194.
Ursache, A., Blair, C., Stifter, C., & Voegtline, K. (2013). Emotional Reactivity and Regulation in Infancy Interact to Predict Executive Functioning in Early Childhod. Developmental Psychology, 49, 1, 127-137.
Welsh, M. C., Pennington, B. F., & Groisser, D. B. (1991). A normative-developmental study of executive function: A window on prefrontal function in children.Developmental Neuropsychology, 7, 131–149.
Zahn-Waxler, C., Shirtcliff, E. A., & Marceau, K. (2008). Disorders of childhood and adolescence: Gender and psychopathology. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 4, 1-29.
Zelazo, P. D., & Frye, D. (1998). Cognitive complexity and control: The development of executive function in childhood. American Psychological Society, 7, 121-125.
Zelazo, P. D., & Cunningham, W. (2007). Executive function: Mechanisms underlying emotion regulation. In Handbook of emotion regulation. New York: Guilford, pp. 135-158.