Temperament is the style of behavior infants (and all people) have of relating to people, situations, and objects.
Thomas and Chess identified three types of temperament: easy or flexible, difficult, active or feisty, and slow to warm up or cautious. Infants may be one or a combination of these patterns.
Traits that make up temperament include: activity, rhythmicity, approach/withdrawal, adaptability, intensity, mood, persistence and attention span, distractibility, and sensory threshold.
Difficult temperament is considered a risk factor of social-emotional issues. However, the 'goodness-of-fit' between parent and infant is important, too (e.g., an active and feisty parent may be disappointed in having a cautious baby). Parent’s mental health and expectations should be considered when thinking about infant temperament as a risk factor.
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