Temperament and Parenting Antecedents of Individual Differences in Three-Year-Old Boys' Pride and Shame Reactions

Jay Belsky, Celene Domitrovich, Keith Crnic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


To examine individual differences in pride and shame reactions of 3-year-olds and their temperamental and parenting antecedents, 110 boys were studied at ages 36 and 37 months in a "rigged" achievement situation. After being trained to complete explicitly stipulated "easy" and "difficult" tasks before a buzzer sounded, success and failure were manipulated by artificially "rigging" how much time the child had to work on these tasks. Children's facial, verbal, and postural reactions to success and failure were composited to create pride scores following success and shame scores following failure. As expected, pride reactions were greater following success on the difficult than on the easy task, and shame reactions were greater following failure on the easy than on the difficult task. Early temperament (at 12/13 months) proved unrelated to pride and shame. With respect to parenting, measurements composited across 15, 21, 27, and 33 months showed that mothers and fathers who were more positive in their parenting had children who displayed less pride, and that children whose parents (especially mothers) were more negative in their parenting evinced less shame. These counterintuitive findings are discussed in terms of differences between assessments of parenting obtained in this investigation of parenting antecedents and those obtained in other studies of parental responses in the achievement situation itself. Directions for future research are outlined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)456-466
Number of pages11
JournalChild development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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