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Stressful Events and Temperament Change during Early and Middle Adolescence: The TRAILS Study


O. M. Laceulle, University Centre for Psychiatry, University Medical Center Groningen, Postbus 30.001, 9700 RB, Groningen, The Netherlands. E-mail:


This project investigates how stressful events are related to deviations from normative temperament development during adolescence. Temperament traits were assessed at ages 11 and 16 years. Life-event data was captured using an interview (total n = 1197). Normative changes were found in all traits. A linear trend was found between the experience of stressful events and temperament development. Adolescents exposed to stressful events showed smaller decreases in fear and shyness, stronger decreases in effortful control and affiliation and smaller increases in high intensity pleasure. Exposure to stressful events was related to increases in frustration instead of decreases. Our results show that whereas normative development is mostly in the direction of maturation, adolescents who experienced stressful events showed less maturation of their temperament. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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