The relationship of personality variables and temperamental style to behaviorally disordered children's use of verbal self-instructions

Melissa Elkind Fastov, Fordham University


The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the relationship of behaviorally disordered children's affect and temperament to the learning and generalization of self-instructional training. It is important to determine which children will profit most from cognitive strategies in order to prescribe treatment accurately. This study was a first step in determining which individuals would benefit from a self-instructional training program. Self-instructional strategies were taught via directed discovery procedures. The training task employed was the Matching Familiar Figures Test 20 (MFF20) and the generalization task was the Perceptual Perspective-Taking Task (PPTT). The individual differences investigated included cognitive developmental level; the affective states of depression, anxiety, and anger; the temperamental dimensions of adaptability, approach$\\$withdrawal, distractibility, and persistence; and the temperament dimensions of Persistence and Sociability. Cognitive developmental level was assessed by children's performance on two conservation tasks, and personality and temperament were evaluated with both self- and teacher-rated measures. The results of correlational, regression, and discriminant function analyses assessing the relationship between personality/temperament variables and outcome and generalization of the self-instructional program were modest. 2 x 3 ANCOVAs, controlling for age and IQ, produced significant main effects for time of testing for the MFF20, with children committing fewer errors and increasing their latencies at posttest. There were no significant main effects for developmental level. There were no significant interaction effects. The t-tests computed for all dependent variables, comparing pretest to posttest scores for each cognitive level indicated that the concrete operational and transitional children committed significantly fewer errors on the training task and concrete operational children committed significantly fewer errors on the generalization task at posttest. Although the results are modest, they provide a beginning to our understanding of which children will gain most from self-instructional training. Based on the results of the current study, the most important aspect an instructor would do well to consider prior to and during training is the child's cognitive developmental level.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Personality

Recommended Citation

Fastov, Melissa Elkind, "The relationship of personality variables and temperamental style to behaviorally disordered children's use of verbal self-instructions" (1988). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8818458.