The Mediating Role of Executive Functions in the Relationship between Motor Skills and Academic Achievement in Children with Learning Disabilities: A Descriptive Study

Document Type : Original Articles


1 PhD Candidate in Motor Behavior, Department of Physical Education and Sports Sciences, Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Department of Physical Education and Sport Science, Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology and Counseling, Department of Law and Theology, Shahid Ashrafi Esfahani Non Profit University, Isfahan, Iran



Introduction: Motor skills deficits are of the problems that children with learning disabilities face. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between motor skills and academic achievement in children with learning disabilities mediated by executive functions.Materials and Methods: Participants were 182 children with learning disabilities from Isfahan City, Iran, who were included using convenient sample strategy. Fine and gross motor skills were evaluated using Bruininks-oseretsky-2 Test, academic achievement was measured using Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement, and executive functions was assessed using Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function 2 (BRIEF2). The analysis was performed by structural equation modeling.Results: The results showed the significant direct effect of gross motor skills on academic achievement (P = 0.001) and the lack of direct effect of fine motor skills on academic achievement (P = 0.735). The Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) analysis showed that gross (P = 0.001) and fine (P = 0.048) motor skills had a positive effect on the academic achievement of children with learning disabilities through an indirect path and through executive functions.Conclusion: The fundamental importance of motor skills in the academic achievement of children with learning disabilities can be emphasized. The present study also emphasizes the importance of executive functions in the academic achievement of children with learning disabilities, as executive functions mediate the relationship between motor skills and children's academic achievement with learning disabilities.


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  • Receive Date: 26 July 2021
  • Revise Date: 02 June 2022
  • Accept Date: 22 May 2022