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Early childhood temperament as a determinant of externalizing behavior in adolescence

  • Carl E. Schwartz (a1), Nancy Snidman (a2) and Jerome Kagan (a2)


Two cohorts of adolescents who were categorized at either 21 or 31 months of age as extremely inhibited or uninhibited completed the Youth Self-Report (YSR), and their parents completed the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). In the second year, inhibited children typically cease ongoing behavior and vocalizing, seek comfort from a familiar person, or withdraw in response to unfamiliar situations. By contrast uninhibited children do not become subdued by novelty and are sociable and outgoing, often vocalizing, smiling, and approaching unfamiliar persons or objects. The 13-year-old adolescents who had been categorized as inhibited at 21 months of age scored significantly lower than adolescents originally classified as uninhibited on the Total Externalizing, Delinquent Behavior, and Aggressive Behavior Scales. Parental ratings of Total Externalizing and Aggressive behavior on the CBCL agreed with the Youth Self-Report. The second cohort of adolescents who had been selected at 31 months yielded similar findings, but only for males. These results suggest that important aspects of the original temperamental profile have been preserved over a 12-year period.


Corresponding author

Carl E. Schwartz, M. D., Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Mental Health Center, 74 Fenwood Road, Boston, MA 02115.


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Early childhood temperament as a determinant of externalizing behavior in adolescence

  • Carl E. Schwartz (a1), Nancy Snidman (a2) and Jerome Kagan (a2)


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