A longitudinal study of the role of childhood temperament in the later development of eating concerns Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE:This study examined the relationship between childhood temperament and the later development of eating and body concerns in early adolescent children. METHOD:The Australian Temperament Project has followed a cohort of children from birth, assessing temperament factors such as Negative Emotionality, Persistence, Approach/Withdrawal, and Activity. Using a longitudinal design, the study reports on the relationship between temperament measured from infancy onward and eating and body concerns at 12-13 years of age. Participants (597 girls, 631 boys) completed the Eating Disorders Inventory subscales Drive For Thinness, Body Dissatisfaction, and Bulimia, and an estimate of their current size. Parents described their child's temperament and body size. RESULTS:High Negative Emotionality and low Persistence were the factors most associated with risk status over time, particularly in girls. DISCUSSION:While it is unlikely that temperamental characteristics per se lead to disordered eating, it is argued that in combination with other risk factors, certain temperamental characteristics may increase vulnerability.


publication date

  • March 2000