Effectiveness of ENGAGE in reducing difficulties in everyday executive functions among Finnish preschoolers : a randomized controlled trial
Klenberg, L., Teivaanmäki, S., Närhi, V., Kiuru, N., & Healey, D. (2023). Effectiveness of ENGAGE in reducing difficulties in everyday executive functions among Finnish preschoolers : a randomized controlled trial. Child neuropsychology, Early online. https://doi.org/10.1080/09297049.2022.2164568
Published inChild neuropsychology
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Effective interventions applicable for young preschool-age children are needed to reduce the risk of widespread and sustained adversities that are linked to early executive function (EF) difficulties. This randomized controlled trial (RCT) examined the effectiveness of the play-based ENGAGE intervention in improving behavioral outcomes related to EFs among Finnish preschool-age children with hyperactivity and/or inattention problems. 95 children between 4 and 5 years of age and their parents were randomly assigned to the ENGAGE intervention or a waitlist control group. Parents and early childhood education (ECE) teachers rated the children’s EF difficulties and problem behaviors at pre-intervention, post-intervention, and 5-month follow-up. Repeated measures linear mixed modeling was used to examine the effect of ENGAGE on child outcomes. Those receiving ENGAGE exhibited significantly greater decreases in parent-rated attentional problems, hyperactivity/impulsivity, and acting out behaviors than the control group did, with mostly moderate effect sizes. No consistent improvements in the teacher ratings of children’s EF related difficulties were found in either group. Low dropout (8%) from the intervention and high acceptability ratings indicated that ENGAGE is a palatable intervention for parents. The present study showed that findings from an earlier RCT on ENGAGE conducted in New Zealand could be generalized to a different cultural setting, as the intervention effectively reduced young Finnish children's EF difficulties in the home context. Extending ENGAGE and other play-based interventions into different everyday contexts of children, such as ECE, could further enhance the beneficial effects on children's EFs and behavior. ...
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Additional information about fundingThis work was supported by the Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organizations (STEA), Finland, and the Finnish Cultural Foundation.
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