UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The contribution of temperament to children's happiness Klassen, Andrea Nicole


The relation between temperament and happiness in children aged 8-12 was examined. Participants included 311 students in Grades 4-6 and their parents, recruited from public and private schools in the Central Okanagan. Parents rated their children’s temperament using the Emotionality, Activity, and Sociability (EAS) Temperament Survey (Buss & Plomin, 1984) and rated their children’s happiness using a single-item measure. Children rated their own temperament using the EAS Temperament Survey and the Piers- Harris Self Concept Scale for Children, Second Edition (Piers-Harris 2) (Piers & Herzberg, 2002). Children also rated their own happiness using a single-item measure, the Oxford Happiness Scale, Short Form (Hills & Arygle, 2002), and the Subjective Happiness Scale (Lyubomirsky & Lepper, 1999). Confirmatory factor analyses established that parent and child ratings on the EAS Temperament Survey conformed to the four-factor structure proposed by Buss and Plomin (1984). Multiple regression analyses revealed that temperament accounted for between 9-29% of the variance in children’s happiness depending on the rater (i.e., parents vs. children) and the measure of happiness. Individual temperament variables that predicted a unique amount of the variance of children’s happiness over and above the combined effect of all temperament variables varied with the rater of children’s temperament (i.e., parents vs. children) and with the measure of happiness. Children who were more social, less shy, less emotional, and more free from anxiety rated themselves, and were rated by others, as happier. Children who scored higher on the activity temperament rated themselves, and were rated by others, as happier. The results of the current study parallel results of research investigating the relation between happiness and personality in adults. It establishes a strong relation between temperament and happiness, and iii supports the use of self-reports with children. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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