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The Australian Temperament Project



Reuters report from 1995

SYDNEY, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Australian children are born true to their cultural stereotype -- laid-back, according to a 12-year medical study of infants. The Australian Temperament Project found Australian infants were significantly less active, less intense and eased into routines more readily than United States and Chinese infants, The Australian newspaper reported on Thursday.

The study of 2,443 infants by the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne found Australian babies needed stronger stimuli to produce a response and are more positive in their mood. "We believe infants are born with a temperament profile that from the word go is continually modified by the environment," one of the authors of the study, Frank Oberklaid, told the newspaper.

The study also found that children's temperaments varied widely in Australia because of its multi-cultural society. It said children from Mediterranean parents were five times more likely to have a difficult temperament than those from Anglo-Saxon parents. "It's not just the ethnic group asserting its individuality, we know they're different and we have to adapt our clinical interventions to take into account those cultural differences," Oberklaid said.




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