Executive control is a set of cognitive abilities that may impact a variety of adolescent health behaviors and outcomes; however, research on executive control as a contributor to the physical health of youth is relatively limited. Therefore, the current article explores the possible role of executive control in adolescent health by reviewing relevant literature and proposing a conceptual framework to guide future research in this area. The development of executive control from preschool through adolescence is described, with particular attention to executive control in the unique health context of adolescence. A new conceptual model is proposed, focusing on how executive control may play a critical role in supporting health in adolescence and beyond through the mechanisms of attentional, behavioral, and emotional control. Literature exploring associations between youth executive control and key health behaviors (including diet, physical activity, sleep and substance use) is reviewed. Researchers and clinicians are encouraged to consider executive control as an important cross-cutting contributor to health during adolescence and beyond and to incorporate this construct into longitudinal studies of health.
- Executive control
- Health behaviors
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health