Development and Psychopathology

Infant temperament and anxious symptoms in school age children

a1 Harvard University
a2 University of Geneva,Switzerland


A group of 164 children from different infant temperament categories were seen at 7 years of age for a laboratory battery that included behavioral and physiological measurements. The major results indicated that children who had been classified as high reactive infants at 4 months of age, compared with infants classified as low reactive, (a) were more vulnerable to the development of anxious symptoms at age 7 years, (b) were more subdued in their interactions with a female examiner, (c) made fewer errors on a task requiring inhibition of a reflex, and (d) were more reflective. Further, the high reactives who developed anxious symptoms differed from the high reactives without anxious symptoms with respect to fearful behavior in the second year and, at age 7 years, higher diastolic blood pressure, a narrower facial skeleton, and greater magnitude of cooling of the temperature of the fingertips to cognitive challenge. Finally, variation in magnitude of interference to fearful or aggressive pictures on a modified Stroop procedure failed to differentiate anxious from nonanxious or high from low reactive children.

c1 Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Jerome Kagan, Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138.