Study on the Typology of Temperament of Japanese Children Aged 3 and 4

Background: Very early in life, variations between children arise. One such differentiation is the temperament of babies. It was a major clinical and research issue. The definition of temperament is debatable, however it has been defined differently by several researchers. Although most temperament studies are variable-centered, the structure of temperament has seldom been questioned from a person-centered viewpoint (i.e., typology of temperament). The aim of our study is to use the EASI survey and a two-step cluster analysis to classify the temperamental typology of Japanese infants. Methods: A net-survey of 531 mothers and 369 fathers of a 3- or 4-year-old child in Japan collected data. The EASI with 4 subscales (Emotionality (E), Action (A), Sociability (S), and Impulsivity (I)) and the Child Behavior Checklist were distributed (CBCL). Results: 4 clusters were performed in a two-step cluster analysis: the first cluster (n = 288) was characterised as the highest S and mildly high A and I, and was therefore viewed as Average-Active. In E, A and I, the second cluster (n = 179) was low, but slightly high in S, and was therefore interpreted as controlled. In I and E, the third cluster (n = 288) was almost the same amount as the first cluster, but in A and S it was slightly low, and thus perceived as Average-Quiet. In E, A and I, but low in S, the fourth cluster (n = 145) was high, and thus interpreted as Sensitive/Hyperreactive. Regulated children scored the lowest on the CBCL subscales in internalising and outsourcing habits, while Sensitive/Hyperreactive children scored the highest on these subscales. Conclusion: The recognition of such groups may assist us to choose various typology-based parenting or intervention strategies. Children’s temperaments and parenting behaviour have been known to affect each other independently. We defined four typologies interpretable as Average-Active, Controlled, Average-Quiet, and Sensitive/Hyper-reactive of children’s temperament patterns. This research is to the best of our understanding, the first study of temperament typology in a large population of Japanese children.

Author(s) Details


Yukiko Ohashi
Josai International University, Togane, Chiba, Japan and Kitamura Institute of Mental Health Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.

Toshinori Kitamura
Kitamura Institute of Mental Health Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan, Kitamura KOKORO Clinic Mental Health, Tokyo, Japan, T. and F. Kitamura Foundation for Studies and Skill Advancement in Mental Health, Tokyo, Japan and Department of Psychiatry, Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan.

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