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NASP Home NASP Publications School Psychology Review (SPR) Volume 27 Issue 4 (1998) Temperament and Behavior Problems in ...
Volume 27, Issue 4 (1998)

Temperament and Behavior Problems in the Classroom

pp. 522—533

Abstract: In the past 40 years much of interest to educators, physicians, and psychologists has been learned about temperament differences among children, but this information may not yet have been fully incorporated into the thinking and practice of school psychology.Children’s temperament can arouse concern in teachers as well as parents in three main situations: (a) when the child’s temperament is challenging for the caregivers or teachers but the child’s adjustment is not dysfunctional in social relationships or school performance as with shyness; (b) when the child’s temperament becomes reinforced by becoming incorporated into the child’s coping strategies as when the temperament trait of initial withdrawal enlarges to a general pattern of avoidance for dealing with all stressors, thereby increasing the risk of interfering with adjustment; and (c) when the child’s temperament contributes to a “poor fit” with the environment that leads to a behavioral or other functional problem as when inappropriately handled low adaptability produces a reaction pattern of oppositional or aggressive behavior. The recent great increase in the diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be related to an insufficient appreciation of the existence and importance of normal temperament variations. School psychologists may be helped in their work by more information and research on children’s temperament, more use of the concept when making assessments of school problems, and consideration of the“goodness-of-fit” in planning interventions.

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