Can Anger in Infants Predict Later Problems?

How does your baby handle anger?

Research studies suggest that young children responding with excessive anger to blocked goals (such as taking away a favourite toy) can help identify whether they might be at risk for later problems such as delinquency.   According to one recent study, infants as young as two months  can show anger though"temper tantrums" often become more common as children enter their "terrible twos."   

Still, there are enormous diffferences seen in young children when it comes to temperment issues such as anger, fear, separation anxiety, and how attached infants are to their mothers.  Children experiencing many stressful situations early in life (such as abuse, being part of a family in crisis, or being neglected) have more difficulty controlling anger because their normal emotional development has been disrupted.

A new  research study published in the journal Developmental Psychology examined anger issues in infants and how their relationship with their parents can help prevent later problems from developing.   The team of researchers led by Rebecca J. Brooker of Montana State University and Richard J. Davidson of the University of Wisconsin - Madison examined hundreds of infants in two laboratory sessions when the infants were six and twelve months of age.   The parents of the infants also completed questionnaires measuring life stress and behaviour problems in their infants over time.

To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.


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