Temperament_Frank McDonald

					 Frank McDonald
Psychologist TTH
       June 2009
Overview - Temperament
 Defining terms & concepts – ‘temperament’ ‘type’
  ‘traits’, ‘personality’
 The value of an understanding of temperament
 History of the concept - from ancient to modern times.
  References to practical applications of concept
 Sample of theoretical & research background - key
  concepts & findings
 Measures of temperament
 Further resources
Terms and parameters
 ‘Temperament’ – Researchers view as early-appearing, individual
  differences in reactivity & self-regulation assumed to have a
  constitutional basis (Rothbart & Derryberry, 1981; Rothbart,
  2004; Rothbart & Bates, 1998)
    Constitutional – relatively stable/enduring makeup of the
      organism influenced by heredity, maturation and experience
    Reactivity - variations in quickness and intensity of emotional
      arousal, attention and motor action/activity level – the
      arousability of the organism’s behavioural and physiological
      systems
    Self-regulation – neural and behavioural processes operating
      to modify this underlying reactivity
    (S-r matures around 5-7 yrs. Prior to tho ‘what you see is what
      you’ve got’. So sociable, talkative = low reactive. High reactives
      can’t mask until then & so in novel situations may appear
      quiet, fearful, crying. But after 5-7 behavioural obs not a good
      measure.)
Terms and parameters
  While studies show moderately high heretability estimates for
   variables related to temperament, the idea, sometimes seen in
   literature, that temperament is a solely genetic/innate
   influence on preferences & inclinations to think or act in
   particular ways, is entirely theoretical
  Most believe may be shaped by other factors in early
   environment (e.g. pre- & peri-birth stressors; crowded
   households or day care centres; parents) and that this can be a
   two way influence process
  i.e. the endowment of temperament influences, and is
   influenced by, person’s experience that gives rise to adult
   personality (Rothbart, Ahadi & Evans, 2000)
Terms and parameters
 ‘Personality’ – complex of all the attributes - behavioral,
  temperamental, emotional & mental - that characterise an
  individual as unique. So includes aspects that go beyond
  temperament e.g.
    view of self, people & world
    links between self & other entitities in concepts, schemas, life
     narratives
    cognitive adaptations to the world including coping
     mechanisms, defences,
    locus of control (internal or external), self-efficacy (opp. of
     helplessness)
 ‘Trait’ – a dimension of temperament or personality that is
  stable e.g. “he is a grumpy bloke” vs. a state “he is in a bad
  mood”
 ‘Emotions’, or feelings about a situation, generally refer to
  transient states
Values of Understanding Temperament
 Temperament shapes attitudes & behaviours thence
  interactions with significant others from nursery thru to
  schoolyard, to workplace & wider community
 Understanding temperament is central to understanding
  personality and individual differences. Individual
  differences in temperament form the core around which
  personality develops
Values of Understanding
Temperament
 Good understanding of temperament can:
       broaden psychological & developmental assessment (due to
        its influences on development in infancy & childhood)
       tailor interventions (number of papers in recent years call for
        deeper understanding by health workers of temperament to
        adjust treatment plans & account for pt’s differing responses
        to their conditions & standard treatments)
       de-pathologise ‘different’ behaviour
       guide parenting strategies & adjust expectations (making
        aware of weak links early on may be preventative e.g. shy &
        difficult temperaments associate with later problems of
        depression & aggression, dual mx focus when high reactive
        parent v. high reactive child)
Values of Understanding
Temperament
 In systems/organisations, appreciation of temperament
  may guide staff selection & improve tolerance of /raise
  appreciation of how differences underpin perceptions,
  motivations, communication styles, leadership style etc.
 Goodness of fit between temperament & occupation makes
  it useful for career exploration (e.g. Pederson 1999). Useful
  device: Keirsey Temperament Sorter (Kiersey, 1978) a 4x2
  analysis of temperament factors
    What is our source of energy?
    How do we take in and process information?
    How do we make decisions?
    How do we relate to the world around us?
History of concept
 Views on temperament since Greco-Roman times
  stressed balance between dispositions and
  constitutions, as understood at the time, up until
  modern times e.g. Eysenck (1967) who linked his
  fourfold theoretical typology to it (see next slide)
 Hippocrates view (‘temperamentum’ L. Ref. to
  proportionate mix of bodily humours)
   Blood – cheerfulness
   Phlegm – sluggishness or apathy
   Black bile – gloominess
   Yellow bile - anger
History of concept
 17th century – individual differences in behaviour no
  longer due to inborn nature, more to do w/ environment
 19th century – continued emphasis on external forces to
  explain temperament (Freud’s psychoanalytic theory)
 early 20th century – behaviourist theory focused on
  the processes of classical conditioning & reinforcement
  (role of environment)
History of concept
 Mid to late 20thcentury - researchers began to question
  this extreme environmentalism:
 Chess & Thomas (1956 – 1963)noticed some children with
  behaviour problems had received “good parenting,”
   while some well-adjusted children had received
  “bad parenting” Their work focussed on behaviour traits
   or ‘styles’ in children
 Bell (1974) & Sameroff & Chandler(1975) recognised ‘reciprocal
  effects’ that infants’ behaviour influenced parent-child
  interactions. Temperament contributes to the ‘goodness of fit’
  between child & environment
History of concept
 Separate from the behavioural line of thought there
  emerged the psychobiologic, exemplified by Kagan and
  Cloninger
 Kagan (Kagan, Reznick, Snidman, 1988) established
  ‘biological inhibition patterns’
 Variations, first seen in behavioural observations of
  infants (starting about 7-9 months of age) from healthy
  pregnancies under consistent lab stimulation conditions,
  were supported by his biological observations.
  (See Neurobiology of Temperament section)
History of concept
 Work of Cloninger (who gave us the Type I and Type II
  classification of alcoholism) was seeded in attempts to
  discover links between temperament & personality
  structure & psychopathology - originally Somatisation
  Disorders and GAD (Cloninger, 1986)
 He and his colleagues proposed a comprehensive
  psychological and biological model that purported to
  map personality at the genetic level (Cloninger et al.,
  1993)
 Developed self-report measure Temperament &
  Character Inventory (TCI) that at the psychological
  level claimed to tap core traits in the form of 7 major
  factors
History of concept
 At the biological level they argued that the temperament
  traits said to be tapped by the TCI are associated with
  neurochemical substrates that have a genetic basis
 The heritability of the TCI’s temperament dimensions
  supported in large twin study rates of 50-65% (Heath et
  al., 1995).
 However, a review of molecular studies (Herbst et al.,
  2000) & some factor replicability & validity studies (e.g.
  Ball, 1999) of the TCI has created debate about the
  pharmacogenetic & psychometric specificity of the
  personality dimensions
History of concept
 TCI personality dimensions
 4 independent temperament scales
    Novelty Seeking
    Harm Avoidance
    Reward Dependence
    Persistence
 3 character scales
    Self-directedness
    Co-operativeness
    Self-transcendence
History of concept
 Despite debate it appears to have value as a measure of
  psychopathology and aid in discovery of between
  individual variations in some physical conditions e.g.
  CHD (e.g. Hinstanen et al. 2009) & guiding adjustments
  to treatment based on temperament
 e.g. smokers have different withdrawal patterns that align
  with temperament profile so may benefit from treatments
  matched to their profile
 So high NS’s (smoke for pleasure) may benefit from
  patches and high HA’s (who smoke to relieve stress) may
  benefit from mood mx interventions (Leventhal et al.,
  2007)
History of concept
 Interest in temperament was also supported by
  major resurgence of interest in personality
  research in 80’s & 90’s associated with the general
  acceptance of a set of higher order constructs
 describing personality traits of adults & school-age
 children – the “Big Five” or “Five Factor Model”
 See handout from
 http://wilderdom.com/personality/traits/PersonalityT
 raitsBig5.html Suggest ‘OCEAN’ as mnemonic
History of concept
 So with all these recent historical trends temperament
  re-emerged as an influence on study of child development
  & personality development generally
 More contemporary views present an attempt to
  integrate the two historical lines with multilevel
  constructs of temperament comprising behavioural,
  psychologic, neural, physiologic and genetic levels
  (Ranger et al., 2008)
 Nigg (2006) says by looking at how each level interacts
  with and mediates each other, the better we can grasp
  the concept of temperament
History of concept
Various theoretical approaches now agree temperament:
   biologically based/genetically influenced (identical
    twins more similar temperaments than ‘fraternals’;
    consistent ethnic and sex differences)
   refers to individual differences
   exhibits a relative degree of stability over time, tho low
    to moderate stability from one developmental period
    to another. Develops with age (?as regulation matures)
   modifiable by environment, learning & life experience.
    But not from one extreme to the other e.g. Kagan’s
    ‘high reactive’ infant will never be a ‘low reactive’ adult
History of concept
  Temperament can be shaped by cultural influences
   e.g. US culturally ideal baby
    explores environment
    interacts with other people (shyness seen negatively)
    reacts to caregivers emotions, cues
  Other cultures seek:
    more independence (e.g. Germany)
    More closeness (e.g. Japan)
Sampling of research & theory
 New York Longitudinal Study – NYLS (Thomas, Chess
  & Birch, 1968). Started in 1950’s. 141 subjects
 Best known study of temperament development
 Strong points of Study
  • One of few longitudinal studies of temperament starting
    with infancy. (Tho note internationally recognised
    Australian Temperament Project begun in 80’s tracking
    2000 babies based at RCH Melbourne)
  • Very long term follow-up – infancy to adulthood
  • Wide variety of traits evaluated
  • Among the most widely cited studies of temperament
Sampling of research & theory
 Weak points of Study
  • Data gathered from structured interviews – subjective,
    difficult to replicate
  • Data sample was atypical – mostly infants of interns and
    residents at hospital
    - Remarkably high percent of children in follow-up
      receiving psychiatric counseling (e.g., psychoanalysis)
  • Infant data based on interview with parent of infant, not
    on direct observation of infant (though later data
    gathered directly)
Sampling of research & theory
  NYLS measured 9 traits


 Activity Level            Attention span & persistence
 Rhythmicity               Intensity of Reaction
 Distractibility           Threshold of responsiveness
 Approach/Withdrawal       Quality of Mood
 Adaptability
Sampling of research & theory
 Nine measured traits were used to divide infants into one
  of three temperament categories or “clusters” –
   • ‘Easy’
   • ‘Difficult’
   • ‘Slow to Warm up’
 These cluster ratings are often used widely & cited in
  research literature
Sampling of research & theory
Temperament Types
 ‘Easy’ Child (40% of sample)
  – Quickly establishes regular routine in infancy
  – generally cheerful
  – easily adapts to new experiences
 ‘Slow-to-Warm-Up’ Child (15% of sample)
   – Inactive
   – Mild, low-key reactions to environmental stimuli
   – Negative in mood
   – Adjusts slowly to new experiences
Sampling of research & theory
 ‘Difficult Child’ (10 % of sample)
   – Irregular in daily routines
   – Slow to accept new experiences
   – Tends to react negatively and intensely
 35% didn’t fit a category. Unclassifiable, not ‘average’
Sampling of research & theory
Dimensions of temperament advocated by major researchers (from Berg, 2008)
 Thomas, Chess & Birch                Bates
   (also Carey)                           •      Fussy-Difficult **
    •   Activity level *                  •      Unadaptable
    •   Rhythmicity                       •      Dull
                                          •      Unpredictable
    •   Approach/Withdrawal
    •   Adaptability
                                      Bornstein &Gaughran
                                          •      Exploratory activity *
    •   Intensity of reaction
                                          •      Affective experience and
    •   Distractibility                          expressiveness
    •   Attention Span                    •      Stimulus sensitivity
    •   Mood persistence              Rothbart
    •   Response threshold                •      Activity level
 Buss & Plomin                            •      Soothability
    • Activity level *                    •      Fear **
                                          •      Distress to limitations **
    • Emotionality **
                                          •      Smiling and laughter **
    • Sociability
                                          •      Duration of orienting
Neurobiology of Temperament
 Kagan’s studies of ‘high reactives’:
    neurochemical differences associated with amygdala’s
     lowered threshold for excitability (high cortisol levels)
    high right frontal lobe cortical activity
    stronger EEG waveforms at the 400 millisecs mark in
     response to unfamiliar stimuli
    more active inferior colliculus (primed by amygdala) in
     response to auditory stimuli
    high stable heart-rates (Kagan, 2007)
Measures of Temperament
 Assessments of Behaviour
   Parental interviews & questionnaires (+’s convenient, depth of
    knowledge; -’s biased & subjective - may measure parental
    perceptions of temperament & not infant temperament per se)
   Behaviour rating scales by professionals (e.g. teachers) or caregivers
   Direct researcher observation e.g. in home setting or lab
   Pencil & paper measures (e.g. Kiersey Temperament Indicator) –
    allows access to subjective data that behaviour may mask e.g. the
    outwardly relaxed 50 yr old who often has to down regulate in
    stressful or unfamiliar situations
Measures of Temperament
 Carey Temperament Scales (2000) (4-11 month items)
    2. The infant is fussy on waking up and going to sleep (frowns,
       cries).
    17. The infant moves about much (kicks, grabs, squirms) during
       diapering and dressing.
    21. The infant stops play and watches when someone walks by.
    36. For the first few minutes in a new place or situation the infant
       is fretful.
    41. The infant keeps trying to get a desired toy, which is out of
       reach, for two minutes or more.
Measures of Temperament
 Other p & p tests include
   The TCI-R (revised) (Cloninger et al., 1999)
   The NEO (Costa and McCrae, 1985)
   The Toddler Temperament Scale (Fullard, McDevitt &
    Carey, 1984)
   Rothbart (1981) Infant Behavior Questionnaire


   For more see the 2000 report on the ATP from the AIF.
    See Resources slide for link
Measures of Temperament
 Assessments of Physiological Reactions
    Heart rate
    Hormone levels
    EEG waves in the frontal cortex
Resources
 Australian Temperament Project study –
  Australian Institute of Family Studies
  http://www.aifs.gov.au/atp/
 Basic info on temperament for parents – Family Services
  NZ Gov’t
 http://www.familyservices.govt.nz/info-for-families/skip/temperament.html
 Kaplan and Sadock's ‘Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry’
 2005 (forklift edition)

				
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