The current study is an examination of low income children’s reactive and regulatory temperamental characteristics as predictors of their executive function, with a particular focus on children’s regulatory temperament (i.e., inhibitory control and attentional focusing) as moderators of associations between reactive temperament (i.e., negative emotionality) and executive function. Participants were 291 children (159 boys) ages 37 to 70 months (M = 53.88 months, SD = 6.44 months) enrolled in 17 classrooms within 3 different preschools serving low income children in two Midwestern cities in the United States. Temperament was assessed via parent report during Fall 2014, and executive function were assessed via structured tasks implemented by independent researchers during Spring and Summer 2015. SAS PROC MIXED was used to test hierarchical regression models of children nested within classrooms. After controlling for child age, gender, ethnicity, and parent education, regulatory temperament moderated the association between reactive temperament and executive function. Children’s reactive temperament was inversely associated with their executive function. These findings suggest that understanding children’s regulatory and reactive temperamental characteristics may help to improve their executive functioning in early childhood.
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