Effects of a responsiveness-focused intervention in family child care homes on children's executive function

Emily C. Merz, Susan H. Landry, Ursula Y. Johnson, Jeffrey M. Williams, Kwanghee Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Caregiver responsiveness has been theorized and found to support children's early executive function (EF) development. This study examined the effects of an intervention that targeted family child care provider responsiveness on children's EF. Family child care providers were randomly assigned to one of two intervention groups or a control group. An intervention group that received a responsiveness-focused online professional development course and another intervention group that received this online course plus weekly mentoring were collapsed into one group because they did not differ on any of the outcome variables. Children (N= 141) ranged in age from 2.5 to 5 years (mean age = 3.58 years; 52% female). At pretest and posttest, children completed delay inhibition tasks (gift delay-wrap, gift delay-bow) and conflict EF tasks (bear/dragon, dimensional change card sort), and parents reported on the children's level of attention problems. Although there were no main effects of the intervention on children's EF, there were significant interactions between intervention status and child age for delay inhibition and attention problems. The youngest children improved in delay inhibition and attention problems if they were in the intervention rather than the control group, whereas older children did not. These results suggest that improving family child care provider responsive behaviors may facilitate the development of certain EF skills in young preschool-age children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-139
Number of pages12
JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Attention control
  • Caregiver responsiveness
  • Early childhood
  • Inhibitory control


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