Executive Control Mediates the Association Between Aerobic Fitness and Emotion Regulation in Preadolescent Children

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Abstract

Objective

This study evaluated direct and indirect associations between aerobic fitness, executive control, and emotion regulation among a community sample of preadolescent children.

Methods

Two-hundred and seventy-eight children aged 8-12 years completed measures of aerobic fitness (Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run) and executive control (Stroop Test). Parents completed questionnaires assessing child emotion regulation and executive control (Emotion Regulation Checklist; Early Adolescent Temperament Questionnaire). We evaluated associations between these constructs using structural equation modeling.

Results

Study findings supported a moderate direct association between childhood aerobic fitness and executive control, a strong direct negative association between executive control and emotion regulation, and a moderate indirect association between aerobic fitness and emotion regulation through executive control.

Conclusions

These findings provide preliminary evidence that executive control functions as a mediator between aerobic fitness and emotion regulation and may help explain the mechanism by which aerobic exercise influences emotional well-being among preadolescent children.

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