Longitudinal stability of temperamental exuberance and social-emotional outcomes in early childhood

Kathryn A. Degnan, Amie Ashley Hane, Heather A. Henderson, Olga Lydia Moas, Bethany C. Reeb-Sutherland, Nathan A. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


The goals of the current study were to investigate the stability of temperamental exuberance across infancy and toddlerhood and to examine the associations between exuberance and social-emotional outcomes in early childhood. The sample consisted of 291 4-month-olds followed at 9, 24, and 36 months and again at 5 years of age. Behavioral measures of exuberance were collected at 9, 24, and 36 months. At 36 months, frontal electroencephalogram (EEG) asymmetry was assessed. At 5 years, maternal reports of temperament and behavior problems were collected, as were observational measures of social behavior during an interaction with an unfamiliar peer in the laboratory. Latent profile analysis revealed a high, stable exuberance profile that was associated with greater ratings of 5-year externalizing behavior and surgency, as well as observed disruptive behavior and social competence with unfamiliar peers. These associations were particularly true for children who displayed left frontal EEG asymmetry. Multiple factors supported an approach bias for exuberant temperament but did not differentiate between adaptive and maladaptive social-emotional outcomes at 5 years of age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)765-780
Number of pages16
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Behavior problems
  • EEG asymmetry
  • Longitudinal
  • Social-emotional outcomes
  • Temperament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies
  • Demography


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