Conceptualisation and use of executive functions in paediatrics: A scoping review of occupational therapy literature

Naomi Josman, Sonya Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background/aim: Knowledge and understanding of deficits in executive functions has expanded in recent years and its relevance to occupational therapy has been established. The purpose of this review was to identify, analyse, synthesise and describe the updated occupational therapy scientific literature that addresses the subject of executive functions, specifically focusing on children and adolescents. Method: Scoping review methodology was implemented to map the occupational therapy literature on executive functions in children and adolescents over the past decade. Articles were retrieved from five electronic databases. Results: Fifty publications met the inclusion criteria. The research included a wide age range, different diagnoses, use of diverse executive functions definitions and assortment of assessments and interventions. Conclusion: A unique definition of executive functions among children and adolescents was proposed. This definition can assist both clinicians and researchers in the field. Continued research to establish the profession in a key position is recommended to understand the underlying mechanisms of daily performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-90
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Occupational Therapy Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Occupational Therapy Australia


  • adolescent
  • child
  • executive function
  • occupational therapy assessment
  • paediatric occupational therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Occupational Therapy


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