Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Dr. E.P. Hayden

2nd Supervisor

Dr. P.A.Vernon

Joint Supervisor


Although a large literature has examined temperament in adult and adolescent depression, few studies have investigated temperamental precursors of depressive symptoms in young children over time. I evaluated the role of positive and negative emotionality (PE, NE) and effortful control (EC) in predicting initial levels and change in depressive symptoms in middle childhood. Measures of child temperament (laboratory observations and maternal reports) and depressive symptoms were collected from 205 seven-year-olds who were followed up one and two years later. A steeper increase in self- and mother-reported depressive symptoms was found for children lower in laboratory-assessed EC and higher in laboratory NE. Mother-reported EC and PE interacted to predict changes in child self-reported depressive symptoms: lower PE predicted increases in child self-reported depressive symptoms in the context of lower EC. Findings support the investigation of interactions between reactive and regulatory temperament traits in predicting child depressive symptoms.