Functional constipation in children: does maternal personality matter?

Ital J Pediatr. 2009 Aug 12;35(1):25. doi: 10.1186/1824-7288-35-25.


Aim: To identify personality dimensions of mothers with a constipated child and compare it with those mothers of children without defecation problems.

Methods: We compared mothers of 150 children with functional constipation to mothers of 150 children with no such a problem attending to pediatric hospital of Tabriz University of medical sciences. Personality dimensions were evaluated by NEO five factor inventory after excluding any psychiatric disorders by an interview.

Results: Mean age (SD) was 28.8(18.6) months in constipated children and 20.0(19.3) months in controls, 54.6% of constipated children and 56.7% of controls were male. Mean age (SD) was 30.9(7.1) years in mothers of children with functional constipation and 30.1(7.6) years in controls.Mothers of children with functional constipation scored lower in neuroticism and scored higher in extraversion, conscientiousness and agreeableness. Conscientiousness was the dominant dimension of personality in both groups.

Conclusion: Our results suggest the maternal personality as a factor to directly influence toileting behavior of their children resulting in functional constipation.