Deriving childhood temperament measures from emotion-eliciting behavioral episodes: scale construction and initial validation. Academic Article uri icon


  • The authors describe the development and initial validation of a home-based version of the Laboratory Temperament Assessment Battery (Lab-TAB), which was designed to assess childhood temperament with a comprehensive series of emotion-eliciting behavioral episodes. This article provides researchers with general guidelines for assessing specific behaviors using the Lab-TAB and for forming behavioral composites that correspond to commonly researched temperament dimensions. We used mother ratings and independent postvisit observer ratings to provide validity evidence in a community sample of 4.5-year-old children. 12 Lab-TAB behavioral episodes were employed, yielding 24 within-episode temperament components that collapsed into 9 higher level composites (Anger, Sadness, Fear, Shyness, Positive Expression, Approach, Active Engagement, Persistence, and Inhibitory Control). These dimensions of temperament are similar to those found in questionnaire-based assessments. Correlations among the 9 composites were low to moderate, suggesting relative independence. As expected, agreement between Lab-TAB measures and postvisit observer ratings was stronger than agreement between the Lab-TAB and mother questionnaire. However, for Active Engagement and Shyness, mother ratings did predict child behavior in the Lab-TAB quite well. Findings demonstrate the feasibility of emotion-eliciting temperament assessment methodologies, suggest appropriate methods for data aggregation into trait-level constructs and set some expectations for associations between Lab-TAB dimensions and the degree of cross-method convergence between the Lab-TAB and other commonly used temperament assessments.

published proceedings

  • Psychol Assess

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Gagne, J. R., Van Hulle, C. A., Aksan, N., Essex, M. J., & Goldsmith, H. H.

citation count

  • 148

complete list of authors

  • Gagne, Jeffrey R||Van Hulle, Carol A||Aksan, Nazan||Essex, Marilyn J||Goldsmith, H Hill

publication date

  • June 2011