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Child Dev. 1997 Feb;68(1):58-68.

Ritual, habit, and perfectionism: the prevalence and development of compulsive-like behavior in normal young children.

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University of New Orleans, Department of Psychology 70148, USA.


Young children engage in a significant amount of ritualistic, repetitive, and compulsive-like activity that appears to be part of their normal behavioral repertoire. Empirically, little is known about the onset, prevalence, and developmental trajectory of these phenomena. A parent-report questionnaire, the Childhood Routines Inventory (CRI), was developed to assess compulsive-like behavior in young children, and was administered to 1,492 parents with children between the ages of 8 and 72 months. The CRI has strong overall internal consistency and a distinct two-factor structure. The frequency of compulsive-like behaviors changes with age: Two-, 3-, and 4-year-olds engaged in more compulsive behavior than children younger than 1 year of age and older than 4 years of age. Results are discussed from a developmental psychopathology framework and for their implications for future research in this area.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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