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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between oral narrative abilities and executive function skills in typically developing first and third grade children. Several studies have begun to identify differences in executive function profiles of different groups of children, while other studies have determined a relationship between individual language skills and isolated executive function abilities. Few studies have examined the relationship between applied language tasks, such as narrative ability, and functional displays of executive functions. Subjects included 27 first and third grade students attending a central Illinois public school. The current study investigated the relationship between oral narrative skills measured by the Test of Narrative Language (TNL) and executive function skills measured by the Behavioral Rating Inventory of Executive Functions (BRIEF). In order to further examine narratives generated by the participants, the Index of Narrative Microstructure (INMIS) was used to determine the relationship between narrative microstructure and executive functions. Pearson correlations on results from the TNL, BRIEF, and INMIS were performed to determine relationships between executive functions and narrative skills (comprehension, production, and microstructure). Overall narrative ability scores from the TNL and global executive composite scores on the BRIEF were significantly correlated. Stronger relationships were found between narrative production and executive functions than narrative comprehension and executive functions. The strongest relationships were found between narrative production abilities and the executive function skills of shift, plan/organize, and monitor. Significant correlations were also found between global executive functions captured on the BRIEF GEC and narrative productivity from INMIS Productivity z-scores and total number of words (TNW) z-scores. The strongest correlations were found between the INMIS Productivity score and the executive function skills of shift and plan/organize. No relationships were found between executive functions and measures of narrative complexity from INMIS Complexity z-scores, mean length of t-units, or proportion of complex t-units. Results from this study suggest that expressive language skills in applied narrative tasks engage not only language abilities, but also executive functions such as flexibility, organization, planning, and monitoring.