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Tantrums and Anxiety in Early Childhood: A Pilot Study

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Author(s): Gina Mireault | Jessica Trahan

Journal: Early Childhood Research & Practice
ISSN 1524-5039

Volume: 9;
Issue: 2;
Date: 2007;
Original page

Keywords: Young Children | Tantrums | Emotional Development

ABSTRACT
Tantrums, or emotional reactions that are out of proportion to a situation, appear to be a common childhood phenomenon—yet have drawn little research attention. This pilot study describes tantrum precipitants; their frequency, intensity, and duration; and parental responses in a small community sample (N = 33) of 3- to 5-year-olds. Tantrum intensity and duration were positively correlated with parent ratings of child anxiety/depression on the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist. Further research is needed to replicate these findings and expand upon our understanding of the role of tantrums in social and emotional development, particularly with regard to age- and gender-based tantrum behavior. The role of anxiety in oppositional behavior may be significant for intervention and child-rearing practices.
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