Gagne, Jeffrey R., Jerry C. Prater, Lior Abramson, David Mankuta, and Ariel Knafo-Noam. “An Israeli Study of Family Expectations of Future Child Temperament.” Family Science (early view; online first).
Early emerging child temperament forms the basis for adult personality and has a multitude of developmental implications. Studies have shown that some aspects of temperament can be observed prenatally, and prenatal parent ratings predict postnatal child temperament, thereby influencing future family dynamics. Little research has examined prenatal mother–father agreement on predictions of temperament, or patterns of cross-dimension associations before birth. Parental expectations of their future child’s temperament were investigated in a sample of pregnant Israeli women and their partners. Three modified temperament questionnaires were used to investigate mother–father agreement and associations between temperament dimensions. There were few significant mean differences between mothers’ and fathers’ expectations of child temperament. Parent agreement within temperament dimensions, and associations across dimensions were consistent with the postnatal literature. Findings indicate that parent impressions of child temperament are partially formed before birth, and may represent a shared hope or a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ in families.