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J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2001 Apr;29(2):121-8.

Ritualistic behavior in young children.

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  • 1The Scheinfeld Center for Human Genetics in the Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel.


The aim of this study was to examine ritualistic behavior at its developmental peak. Children 20-59 months of age were sampled through a national system of daycare centers in Israel (N = 228). The order of onset of the ritual behaviors measured was virtually identical to that reported for an American sample (D. W. Evans et al., 1997). Gender and age effects were found for fearfulness but not for ritualistic behavior. Maternal reports of ritualistic behavior were highly correlated with reported fears, and with shy and emotional temperament. Mothers of the children who were in the top 10% in their use of rituals according to maternal report, worried about their child's ritualistic behavior, even though maternal worry was not correlated with ritualistic behavior for the whole distribution.

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