Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2008  |  Volume : 50  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 192-196

Temperamental traits of breath holding children: A case control study

1 Specialist Registrar in Psychiatry, Stratheden, Cupar, United Kingdom
2 Specialist Registrar in Psychiatry, Nottingham, United Kingdom
3 Assistant Professor, Child Guidance Clinic, ICH, Madras Medical College and RI, Chennai, India
4 Professor of Psychiarty, Child Guidance Clinic, ICH, Madras Medical College and RI, Chennai, India

Correspondence Address:
A Subbarayan
Specialist Registrar, Stratheden Hospital, Cupar, KY15 5RR
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.43635

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Background: Clinical observation and few anecdotal reports suggest that the children with breath holding spells (BHS) have certain temperamental traits, which predispose them to behave in certain way. They seem to have low frustration tolerance, which leads to adamant behavior. Vigorous crying, through various mechanisms, precipitates BHS. Materials and Methods: We assessed the temperamental traits of 30 children with BHS and compared them with 30 normal children after matching for age, sex, and socioeconomic status. Temperament was measured using 'Temperament measurement Schedule'. Results: The data were analyzed using Mann-Whitney U test. The following temperamental traits, threshold of responsiveness ( P <0.001), mood ( P <0.001), activity level ( P <0.001), intensity of emotions ( P <0.001), distractibility ( P <0.001) and rhythmicity ( P <0.05) were found to be significantly different from the control group. Two factors, namely sociability ( P <0.05) and energy level ( P <0.001) were significantly higher in breath holders. Conclusions: Significantly differing temperamental traits in breath holders suggests that these could influence the behavioral pattern exhibited by them. Breath holding spells can act as an easy marker for difficult temperamental traits, which gives an early opportunity to shape their difficult behavior.



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