Assessment of temperament in the Toddler age group

Frank Oberklaid, Margot Prior, Ann Sanson, Jillian Sewell, Michael Kyrios

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


We used the Toddler Temperament Scale with large representative samples of younger (mean age = 20.5 months; N = 1188) and older (mean age = 35.4 months; N = 1360) Australian toddlers. There were significant sex differences on 6 of the temperament dimensions for the young group, and on 5 of the 9 dimensions for the older group. Older boys were also more likely to be categorized clinically as having a "difficult" temperament and less likely to have an "easy" temperament. Each group was divided into quartiles according to socioeconomic status. For the younger toddlers there were significant differences in 3 of 9 temperament dimensions, and for the older group there were significant differences in 7 of 9 dimensions. Groups with higher socioeconomic status had temperament ratings which were more likely to make them easier to manage, and to be categorized clinically as having an easy temperament, but toddlers with low socioeconomic status were more likely to have a difficult temperament. There were significant differences in temperament dimension scores between Australian toddlers and those studied in an American setting. These results indicate that toddler temperament ratings differ according to age, sex, social class, and cultural context. Great caution needs to be taken in interpreting individual temperament profiles utilizing comparison data obtained from different sociocultural settings. Future temperament "norms" may need to specify characteristics of the group of children from which they were derived to allow more valid comparisons
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-566
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • temperament
  • toddlers
  • socioeconomic status
  • cross-cultural


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