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Child Dev. 1990 Aug;61(4):1153-63.

Inhibition: its stability and correlates in sixteen- to forty-month-old children.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Göteborg, Sweden.


Inhibition was assessed in 144 Swedish children when they averaged 16 months of age using a composite measure tapping sociability toward strange adults, noninvolvement in peer play, and parental ratings of fearfulness. 91 children entered out-of-home care within 2 weeks of these initial assessments. Children were observed in this setting playing with peers; teachers and parents also rated children's adjustment to the out-of-home care settings. 1 and 2 years later, the children were assessed again, both at home and in the alternative care settings. Results showed that individual differences in inhibition were stable over the 2 years of the study. Inhibited children engaged in less high-quality peer play both at home and in the alternative care settings, and they were less able to play alone in their mothers' absence. On contemporaneous but not subsequent ratings, inhibited children had more difficulty adjusting to out-of-home care. Inhibition was not itself affected by out-of-home care experiences, and there were no sex differences in inhibition.

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