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Ritual, Habit, and Perfectionism: The Prevalence and Development of Compulsive-Like Behavior in Normal Young Children

David W. Evans, James F. Leckman, Alice Carter, J. Steven Reznick, Desiree Henshaw, Robert A. King and David Pauls
Child Development
Vol. 68, No. 1 (Feb., 1997), pp. 58-68
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1131925
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1131925
Page Count: 11
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Ritual, Habit, and Perfectionism: The Prevalence and Development of Compulsive-Like Behavior in Normal Young Children
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Abstract

Young children engage in a significant amount of ritualistic, repetitive, and compulsive-like activity that appears to be part of their normal behavioral repertoire. Empirically, little is known about the onset, prevalence, and developmental trajectory of these phenomena. A parent-report questionnaire, the Childhood Routines Inventory (CRI), was developed to assess compulsive-like behavior in young children, and was administered to 1,492 parents with children between the ages of 8 and 72 months. The CRI has strong overall internal consistency and a distinct two-factor structure. The frequency of compulsive-like behaviors changes with age: Two-, 3-, and 4-year-olds engaged in more compulsive behavior than children younger than 1 year of age and older than 4 years of age. Results are discussed from a developmental psychopathology framework and for their implications for future research in this area.

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