Relationships between early behavioural characteristics and temperament at 6 years

Infant Behav Dev. 2011 Feb;34(1):152-60. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2010.11.003. Epub 2010 Dec 23.


The aim of this study was to analyze the extent to which the relations and the stability of the neonatal behaviour and the infant behaviour at both 4 and 12 months could be used to predict the infant temperament at 6 years. Seventy-two full-term, normal-weight, healthy children were followed from 3 days postpartum to 6 years. Neonatal behaviour at 3 and 30 days was assessed using the Neonatal Behaviour Assessment Scale (NBAS), behaviour at 4 and 12 months was assessed using the Infant Behaviour Record (IBR) from the Bayley Scales for Infant Development (BSID) and temperament at 6 years was assessed using the Dimensions of Temperament Survey-Revised (DOTS-R). Negative and positive affectivity and attention were the factors extracted from the behaviours of the IBR. Our results showed a low/moderate correlation between neonatal behaviour on the one hand and behaviour at 4 and 12 months and temperament at 6 years on the other hand. The motor performance, orientation and ANS stability of the neonate at 3 and 30 days were predictors of positive and negative affectivity at 4 months. State regulation and ANS stability at 3 days were predictors of negative affectivity and attention respectively at 12 months. Negative affectivity at 12 months and endurance at 30 days were predictors of general activity and persistence/attention at 6 years. Also, an inverse relation was found between state regulation at 30 days and general activity at 6 years, and a positive relation was found between attention at 4 months and persistence/attention at 6 years. We conclude that neonatal behaviour and behaviour in the first year of life are good predictors of temperament at 6 years and that early negative affectivity has an important role on infant temperament development.

MeSH terms

  • Affect / physiology
  • Attention / physiology
  • Child Development
  • Emotions / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Behavior / physiology*
  • Infant Behavior / psychology*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Psychometrics
  • Temperament / physiology*