Child Psychiatry and Human Development

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 167–178 | Cite as

Child temperament and adult behavior: An exploration of “goodness of fit”

  • Betty Nye Gordon

Abstract

This research investigated the relationship between children's temperamental characteristics and adult behavior. Children were selected for four sex-by-temperament groups on the basis of parent report of temperament and were observed interacting with either a highly controlling or a very permissive adult. The results indicated that the degree of adult control or demands is an important component in understanding the “goodness of fit” between parent behavior and child characteristics and that a child's temperament and its relationship to adult behavior cannot be considered in isolation from other child characteristics, particularly the child's sex. Children's sex and temperament were found to interact in relationship with adult controlling behavior while no child behaviors varied as a function of sex or temperament alone. Adults were found to adjust their controlling behavior as a function of the child's sex and temperament. The results are discussed in light of the cross-sex effects of social reinforcement.

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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Betty Nye Gordon
    • 1
  1. 1.Division for Disorders of Development and Learning of the Biological Sciences Research Center, Division for Health AffairsUniversity of North CarolinaChapel Hill

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