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Studying Cross-cultural Differences in the Development of Infant Temperament: People’s Republic of China, the United States of America, and Spain

Abstract

Investigated early development of temperament across three cultures: People’s Republic of China (PRC), United States of America (US), and Spain, utilizing a longitudinal design (assessments at 3, 6, and 9 months of age). Selection of these countries presented an opportunity to conduct Eastern–Western/Individualistic–Collectivistic comparisons. The greatest number of significant differences (i.e., involving more temperament dimensions) was anticipated for the US (Western/Individualistic) and PRC (Eastern/Collectivistic) comparisons. The US sample included 66, the PRC group 69, and the Spanish sample, 60 mothers, all of whom completed the Infant Behavior Questionnaire (IBQ) 3 times, when their infants were 3, 6, and 9 months of age. Results related to mean group differences were generally consistent with our hypotheses, demonstrating a greater number of significant differences for US versus PRC, with fewer differences observed for US and Spain. Analyses addressing developmental changes in temperament indicated patterns consistent with a priori expectations and cross-cultural differences.

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Correspondence to Maria A. Gartstein.

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Gartstein, M.A., Gonzalez, C., Carranza, J.A. et al. Studying Cross-cultural Differences in the Development of Infant Temperament: People’s Republic of China, the United States of America, and Spain. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 37, 145–161 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10578-006-0025-6

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Keywords

  • Infancy
  • Temperament
  • Cross-cultural
  • Longitudinal