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Gray S, Tannock R. (2014) A longitudinal study of potential mediators of the relationship between inattention and academic achievement in a community sample of elementary school children. PeerJ PrePrints2:e767v1https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.767v1
Introduction: Behavioral attention, working memory (WM), and academic achievement share significant variance, but the direction of relationships across development are unknown. The aim of the present study was to determine whether WM mediates the pathway between inattentive behaviour and subsequent academic outcomes. Methods: 204 students from grades 1-4 (50% female) were recruited from elementary schools. Participants received assessments of WM and achievement at baseline and one year later. Teachers completed the SWAN behaviour rating scale both years. Mediation analysis with PROCESS (Hayes, 2013) was used to determine mediation pathways. Results: Inattention indirectly and directly influenced math addition, subtraction and calculation scores through its effect on visual-spatial WM. Children who displayed better attention had higher WM scores, and children with higher WM scores had stronger scores on math outcomes. Bias-corrected bootstrap confidence intervals for the indirect effects were entirely below zero for three out of four math outcomes. WM did not mediate the direct relationship between inattention and math and reading fluency scores. Discussion: Findings identify inattention and WM as longitudinal predictors for math addition, subtraction and calculation outcomes one year later, with visual-spatial WM as significant mediator. Results highlight the close relationship between inattention and WM and their importance in the development of math skills.
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