Executive Functions in Children With Specific Language Impairment: A Meta-Analysis Purpose Mounting evidence demonstrates deficits in children with specific language impairment (SLI) beyond the linguistic domain. Using meta-analysis, this study examined differences in children with and without SLI on tasks measuring inhibition and cognitive flexibility. Method Databases were searched for articles comparing children (4–14 years) with and without ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2016
Executive Functions in Children With Specific Language Impairment: A Meta-Analysis
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Laura J. Pauls
    The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
  • Lisa M. D. Archibald
    The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Laura Pauls: lpauls@uwo.ca
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Shelley Gray
    Associate Editor: Shelley Gray×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2016
Executive Functions in Children With Specific Language Impairment: A Meta-Analysis
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2016, Vol. 59, 1074-1086. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0174
History: Received May 11, 2015 , Revised November 3, 2015 , Accepted February 6, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2016, Vol. 59, 1074-1086. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0174
History: Received May 11, 2015; Revised November 3, 2015; Accepted February 6, 2016

Purpose Mounting evidence demonstrates deficits in children with specific language impairment (SLI) beyond the linguistic domain. Using meta-analysis, this study examined differences in children with and without SLI on tasks measuring inhibition and cognitive flexibility.

Method Databases were searched for articles comparing children (4–14 years) with and without SLI on behavioral measures of inhibition or cognitive flexibility. Weighted average effect size was calculated using multilevel modeling to measure potential group differences.

Results The analysis included 46 studies. Of those, 34 included inhibitory control measures and 22 included cognitive flexibility tasks. Children with SLI performed below same-aged peers on both inhibitory control tasks (g = −.56) and cognitive flexibility tasks (g = −.27). Moderator analyses showed no effect of linguistic task demands, participant age, or severity of language impairment on the degree of difference between children with SLI and controls on measures of inhibitory control.

Conclusion Reliable differences between children with and without SLI were found on inhibition and cognitive flexibility tasks. A moderate group effect was found for inhibition tasks, but there was only a small effect for cognitive flexibility tasks. Results of moderator analyses suggest that these deficits are present throughout development despite task demands or severity of linguistic impairment.

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