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We investigated Buss and Plomin's Emotionality Activity Sociability (EAS) Temperament Survey for Children, used to assess temperament. Temperament is believed to comprise stable traits that change little over time. We examined stability of EAS temperament in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, in which 7429 mothers completed the EAS when their children were 3, 5 and 6. years old. Factor analysis was conducted at each time point, and stability over time was assessed using correlation and mixed effects regression modelling, accounting for differences within and between individuals. A four-factor model provided the best fit, with 19-20 of the 20 items loading onto the dimensions predicted by Buss and Plomin. Test-retest correlations ranged from 0.52-0.64 (3-5. years), 0.59-0.74 (5-6. years) and 0.46-0.58 (3-6. years). Mixed effects regression modelling suggested good stability over time: differences between, rather than within, individuals accounted for between 69% and 82% of the variance. This study demonstrates the stability of temperament over time, a vital pre-requisite to investigating childhood temperament as a predictor of outcomes. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Original publication




Journal article


Personality and Individual Differences

Publication Date





628 - 633