Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry edition:54 location:Boston (VS) date:23-28 October 2007
TEMPERAMENT VERSUS PERSONALITY IN YOUNG CHILDREN: RELATIONSHIPS WITH PARENTING & PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
Karla G. Van Leeuwen, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Ghent University, H. Dunantlaan 2, 9000 Ghent, Belgium; Sarah De Pauw, M.D. & Ivan Mervielde, Ph.D.
Objective: The goodness-of-fit theory (Thomas & Chess, 1977) assumes that a mismatch between a child’s temperament and parenting practices may lead to the development of child problem behavior. This study examines interactions between child characteristics and parenting in the prediction of child internalizing and externalizing problem behavior. Individual differences in children are assessed by (a) three different temperament models (Thomas & Chess, Buss & Plomin, Rothbart) and (b) the Five Factor model of personality.
Method: Parents of 189 4to5-year old children (42.9% boys, 57.1% girls) were recruited by undergraduate psychology students contacting individual families. Questionnaires were partly completed by mothers and partly by fathers.
Results: Hierarchical multiple regression analyses show several parenting by temperament interactions predicting child problem behavior, in particular when the Thomas and Chess model is used. However, there are also significant parenting by personality interactions related to child psychopathology. We also found strong independent effects of negative parental control and several temperament and personality dimensions.
Conclusion: The results support the hypothesis that children scoring differently on specific temperament dimensions also vary in their sensitivity to parental influences. They further indicate that the Five Factor model may be a valuable measure of individual differences among young children, in addition to the more traditional temperament measures.