Adverse childhood experiences, parenting, and child executive function

Amy E. Treat, Amanda Sheffield Morris, Amy C. Williamson, Jennifer Hays-Grudo, Debbie Laurin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Parent adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and caregiver reports of harsh parenting were examined in relation to the executive function (EF) abilities in young low-income children. Data were collected from 55 mother–child dyads; 17–40 months of age. Parent measures included the ACEs questionnaire and harsh parenting items from the Adult Adolescent Parenting Inventory-2. Children’s EF was assessed using game-like tasks to measure working memory, cognitive flexibility, and inhibitory control. Harsh parenting attitudes were marginally correlated with children’s cognitive flexibility. In regression analyses controlling for child age, harsh parenting attitudes predicted lower inhibitory control in children, and parent-reported ACEs predicted lower working memory scores. Findings suggest that parent ACEs and parenting attitudes may be important factors in the development of young children’s EF skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)926-937
Number of pages12
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number6
StatePublished - 12 May 2019


  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • executive function
  • low income
  • parenting
  • young children


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