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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Exploration of the Relationships Between Temperament and Sensory-Processing Behaviors in Parent-Child Dyads
by Diamant, Rachel B., Ph.D., Northcentral University, 2011, 217; 3458588
Abstract (Summary)

The fields of psychology and occupational therapy have engaged in separate lines of research (e.g., temperament and sensory-processing behaviors, respectively) to explore child behavior styles related to social and activity engagement. These two constructs imply that a goodness-of-fit between the child's behavior styles and demands of contextual experiences is critical for optimal task and social engagement. The purpose of this correlational study was to examine whether relationships existed between temperament and sensory-processing behavior patterns in parent-child dyads. Through convenience sampling, 59 healthy adults, 19 years or older, who were the primary caregiver of a healthy child between the ages of 3 to 7 years, were recruited for this study. Three self-report, standardized questionnaires were utilized to evaluate sensory-processing behavior patterns (e.g., low sensory registration, sensory seeking, sensory avoiding, and sensory sensitivity), and temperament characteristics (e.g., negative affectivity, extraversion/surgency, effortful control) and subcategories. Pearson product-moment correlation statistics revealed statistically significant positive associations between effortful control and typical behavior responses for auditory, visual, vestibular, touch sensory-processing, sensory sensitivity, and sensory seeking. Statistically significant associations were also found between atypical, extreme expression for subcategories of sensory-processing behaviors (i.e., auditory, visual, tactile, and vestibular sensory processing) and negative affectivity and extraversion/surgency. Three multiple regression analyses controlling for child age were completed to discover whether sensory-processing behaviors predicted temperament characteristics. Results revealed that atypical, extreme responses for sensory avoiding behaviors were significantly related to negative affectivity, F(5, 53) = 6.36, p < .001, and atypical, extreme responses for sensory seeking behaviors were significantly related to extraversion/surgency, F(5, 53) = 6.58, p < .001. Results imply that children who can adapt and modulate behavior responses to sensory experiences may be better able to self-regulate behaviors for effortful control (e.g., increased inhibitory control, increased focus and attention), whereas, children who are less able to adapt to sensory experiences are more likely to demonstrate negative, difficult temperament characteristics. An understanding of sensory processing behaviors and its relationships with temperament becomes critical in the analysis of goodness-of-fit between child, caregiver, and context. Outcomes suggest the potential for behavior management strategies when both temperament and sensory-processing behavior patterns are considered.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Chartrand, Max Stanley
School: Northcentral University
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-B 72/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Behavioral psychology, Occupational Therapy, Individual & family studies
Keywords: Parent-child relationships, Sensory processing, Sensory processing behaviors, Temperament
Publication Number: 3458588
ISBN: 978-1-124-66409-5
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