Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational and School Psychology

First Advisor

Linda Webster

First Committee Member

Justin Low

Second Committee Member

Rod Githens


This study examined the relationship between executive function and externalizing behaviors within a student population that was assessed for special education services. Executive function was measured by using the Comprehensive Executive Function Inventory (CEFI). Externalizing behaviors and school problems was measured using the Behavior Assessment System for Children, Third Edition (BASC-3). Four separate structural equation models were produced and analyzed to examine this relationship. The results from this study indicate that there is a significant direct effect from executive function on externalizing behaviors and school problems, such that higher scores in executive function yielded lower externalizing behavior and school problems scores. Differences in average full scale CEFI scores were noted between types of special education placements and between various groupings of students in regards to what category they qualified in. The data indicates programs that facilitated more environmental supports and services had students with lower full scale CEFI scores, while students that qualified under Other Health Impairment and Emotional Disturbance shared comorbid features with other distinct processing deficits.



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