Executive Function

Strong executive functioning (EF) has been related to success in school, jobs, and  relationships, as well as to improved mental and physical health and overall quality of life.  Weak EFs in childhood predict weak EFs in adulthood.  As such, if the foundation for these skills is not solidly constructed in childhood, they are not likely to improve into adulthood. Executive functioning in adolescence has been related to self-reliance, strong identity development, and work orientation (Galambos et al. 2005).  This suggests that youth with solid EF skills can approach their lives in a strategic, flexible, and efficient manner and be more likely to develop a stronger, more independent sense of self.

The "Is my child a good candidate?" and the "Development" tabs contain more information about executive functions, their development, how they manifest in behavior. The thinkSMART program aims to target executive functions using behaviorally-based skills training in a group setting. Read the tabs of this section for more information about EF!  


Diamond, A., & Lee, K. (2011). Interventions shown to aid executive function development in children 4 to 12 years old. Science333(6045), 959-964. 

Galambos, N. L., MacDonald, S. W., Naphtali, C., Cohen, A. L., & de Frias, C. M. (2005). Cognitive performance differentiates selected aspects of psychosocial maturity in adolescence. Developmental neuropsychology,28(1), 473-492.