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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Temperament and behavioral difficulties across cultures: A comparison between German and U.S. toddlers applying the concept of the 'developmental niche'
by Kirchhoff, Marlis Cornelia, Ph.D., Washington State University, 2015, 65; 10043063
Abstract (Summary)

Research on temperament and the development of behavioral problems across cultures often focuses on comparisons of vastly different countries, such as North American and Asian countries. The present study compares toddler samples from two Western countries, which are considered primarily individualistic in value orientation: the U.S. and Germany (N=100). Results suggest differences in mother’s descriptions of child temperament in the two samples. In addition, results obtained via caregiver interviews and observations of parent child interactions indicated a stronger emphasis on childrearing values reflecting independence for U.S. mothers, with German mothers favoring comparably more interdependence in their offspring. Finally, associations of temperament and behavioral problems were found to be distinct across countries and culture was identified as a moderator in respect to Positive Anticipation, predicting externalizing behavior in the U.S. sample at higher levels. Results were interpreted in light of the concept of the developmental niche and cross-cultural value models, relevant to the two cultures compared in this study. This study offers a significant contribution to our understanding of culturally different avenues in the development of early behavioral problems, and likely subsequent mental health problems over the life span. This is a particularly timely issue given increasing globalization and intercultural exchange.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gartstein, Masha
Commitee: Kwon, Paul, Strand, Paul
School: Washington State University
Department: Psychology - Clinical
School Location: United States -- Washington
Source: DAI-B 77/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Clinical psychology
Keywords: Behavioral difficulties, Cross-cultural, Developmental niche, Temperament
Publication Number: 10043063
ISBN: 978-1-339-55299-6
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