Temperament

Difficult childhood temperamental characteristics have been identified as important predictors of psychiatric disturbance in children. (2 22.) A study of children with mild mental retardation found that difficult temperament was frequently associated with behaviour disorder. (23> A study of a large epidemiological sample of 502 Australian children with mental retardation aged 4 to18 years (J. Foster, unpublished thesis, 1997) found that the temperamental characteristics of high emotionality, high activity, and poor sociability, particularly for boys, were highly predictive of the development of psychopathology. A difficult temperament may not be directly amenable to change, but improved parental understanding and management skills, and family support can lead to better adaptation and the reduction in emotional and behavioural problems.(2 ,,24>

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