Cognitive Flexibility and Theory of Mind Outcomes Among Foster Children: Preschool Follow-Up Results of a Randomized Clinical Trial




Erin Lewis-Morrarty, Mary Dozier, Kristin Bernard, Stephanie M. Terracciano, and Shannon V. Moore

Brief Type

Journal publication


  • Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-Up (ABC)


Young children who experience early adversity are at risk for problems regulating emotions, behavior, and physiology, which in turn place them at risk for later psychopathology, school problems, and peer relation difficulties. Therefore, early parenting interventions are critical in helping this vulnerable population develop adequate self-regulatory capabilities. Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC) is an intervention developed to help parents learn to behave in ways that enhance young children’s self-regulatory capabilities. In the present study, we found that preschool-aged foster children who had received the ABC intervention showed stronger cognitive flexibility and theory of mind skills, relative to foster children who had received a control intervention. Foster children who had received the ABC intervention showed capabilities in these areas that were not significantly different from a comparison group of children who were never in foster care. These findings are promising in suggesting that the ABC intervention enhances the development of foster children’s self-regulatory capabilities. (author abstract)

Data Collection Methods

  • Standardized assessment tools
  • Surveys or questionnaires



For More Information

Lewis-Morrarty, E., Dozier, M., Bernard, K., Terracciano, S. M., & Moore, S. V. (2012). Cognitive flexibility and theory of mind outcomes among foster children: Preschool follow-up results of a randomized clinical trial. Journal of Adolescent Health, 51(2), S17-S22. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.05.005
Author contact information:
Mary Dozier


  • Participant Characteristics
  • Participant, Family, and Program Outcomes