The Development of the Children’s Future Thinking Questionnaire
Caitlin Mahy, Ph.D.
January 24, 2020
Future-oriented cognition (planning, prospective memory, episodic foresight, saving, and delay of gratification) involves a critical set of skills that children must develop for successful functioning in daily activities. Although many behavioural tasks are available to measure children’s future oriented cognition in the lab setting, no parent-report measure exists. Parents offer important insight on their children’s development as they witness their children’s behaviour across a wide variety of settings over an extended period of time. The current talk will describe the development of the Children’s Future Thinking Questionnaire (CFTQ), a parent-report questionnaire on 3- to 7-year-olds’ future-oriented cognition. I will present four studies that describe the development and validation of this measure. In Study 1 (N = 145), the CFTQ showed high internal consistency and detected development of future-oriented cognition in early childhood. Study 2 (N = 255) showed high internal consistency reliability and preliminary validity of the CFTQ. Study 3 (N = 101) confirmed strong reliability and validity of the CFTQ overall. Four of the subscales showed strong validity (planning, episodic foresight, saving, and delay of gratification) whereas the prospective memory subscale showed lower validity. Study 4 (N = 105) revealed excellent test-retest reliability of the CFTQ. Thus, the CFTQ is the first reliable and valid parent-report measure of children’s developing future-oriented cognitive abilities. I will conclude by discussing future research and uses for this freely-available questionnaire measure.