Children's Temperament at 3 Months and 6 Years Old: Stability, Reliability, and Measurement Issues

Patricia S Tomlinson, Bonnie Lee Harbaugh, Kathryn Hoehn Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This study examined the stability of temperament characteristics in children over a 6-year period as well as the reliability of Rothbart's infant and child temperament measures. Thirty-seven mothers rated their firstborns' temperaments using the Infant Behavior Questionnaire (IBQ) at 3 months and the Children's Behavior Questionnaire (CBQ) at 6 years of age. Paired t tests between matched IBQ/CBQ subscales revealed that children were rated significantly higher in all behavioral subscales at 6 years, with the exception of Soothability, which remained stable. Correlations among matched IBQ/CBQ subscales showed significant positive relationships between Soothability and Smiling over the 6-year period. Estimates of internal consistency on three of the six IBQ subscales were lower than Rothbart's reported values, whereas the CBQ values were similar. Findings suggest there was not long-term stability in temperament estimates from early infancy to childhood, except in positive affective response to the environment and rate of recovery from distress and excitement. Measurement issues related to using the IBQ/CBQ, assessing temperament at an early age, maturational effects, and implications for practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-47
Number of pages15
JournalComprehensive Child and Adolescent Nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Division of Nursing, Bureau of Health Professionals, Health Resources and Service Administration, US. Public Health Service, under grant #POINU00886-03 and the Graduate School Faculty Fellowship, University of Minnesota, awarded to P. Tomlinson. Graduate assistantship support was also received from the School of Nursing, University of Minnesota by the coinvestigators.


Dive into the research topics of 'Children's Temperament at 3 Months and 6 Years Old: Stability, Reliability, and Measurement Issues'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this