Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 271–289

The Role of Temperament in the Etiology of Child Psychopathology


DOI: 10.1007/s10567-005-8809-y

Cite this article as:
Muris, P. & Ollendick, T.H. Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev (2005) 8: 271. doi:10.1007/s10567-005-8809-y


A substantial proportion of children and adolescents come to suffer from psychological disorders. This article focuses on the temperament factors that are involved in the pathogenesis of child psychopathology. It is argued that besides the reactive temperament factor of emotionality/neuroticism, the regulative process of effortful control also plays an important role in the etiology and maintenance of internalizing and externalizing problems in youths. More specifically, vulnerability to child psychopathology is determined by a temperament that is characterized by high levels of emotionality/neuroticism and low levels of effortful control. Models are hypothesized in which reactive and regulative temperament factors either have interactive or additive effects on the development of psychological disorders in children, and conceptualized in terms of a developmental psychopathology perspective. Directions for future research and clinical implications of this temperamental view on psychopathology are discussed.


temperamentemotionality/neuroticismeffortful controlpsychopathologychildren and adolescents

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of PsychologyErasmus University RotterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Virginia Polytechnic and State UniversityUnited States of America
  3. 3.Institute of PsychologyErasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands