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Observational Assessments of Infant Temperament in the Natural Setting of the Newborn Nursery: Stability and Relationship to Perinatal Status

Henry N. Ricciuti and Bonnie J. Breitmayer
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly
Vol. 34, No. 3 (July 1988), pp. 281-299
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23086385
Page Count: 19
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Observational Assessments of Infant Temperament in the Natural Setting of the Newborn Nursery: Stability and Relationship to Perinatal Status
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Abstract

The stability and sensitivity of assessments of newborn temperament was examined, based upon relatively lengthy, repeated observations of 29 normal infants in the natural setting of the newborn nursery during the first 3 days of life. Measures of visual alertness, irritability, and activity based on repeated observations in equivalent situational contexts showed good intersession stabilities (e.g.,.63,.70), which were consistently higher than measures based on lengthier over-all session observations, and substantially higher than stabilities typically reported for measures of newborn temperament. Biologically more mature infants (in terms of birth weight and gestation age) tended to be more visually alert, less irritable, and more likely to show attenuated rather than large activity increases when washed and diapered. These findings support the potential value of these observational measures as indicators of significant dimensions of newborn temperament.

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