Are We Assessing Temperament Appropriately? the Emotionality Activity Sociability and Impulsivity (EASI) Temperament Scale: A Systematic Psychometric Review

By Walker, Kirstie L.; Ammaturo, Delaine A. et al. | Canadian Psychology, November 2017 | Go to article overview

Are We Assessing Temperament Appropriately? the Emotionality Activity Sociability and Impulsivity (EASI) Temperament Scale: A Systematic Psychometric Review


Walker, Kirstie L., Ammaturo, Delaine A., Wright, Kristi D., Canadian Psychology


Researchers have dedicated decades to the study of temperament; nevertheless, a single definition has yet to be outlined and several theories with varying numbers of traits continue to coexist (Conture, Kelly, & Walden, 2013). Researchers generally agree that temperament contributes to individual differences, with a common thread among the many definitions of temperament being that traits remain consistent across situations and moderately stable over time (Conture et al., 2013). Given the variability in conceptualizations of temperament, various measures, both self- and parent-report, have been developed; for example, the Emotionality Activity Sociability and Impulsivity Scale-III (EASI-III; Buss & Plomin, 1975); Colorado Childhood Temperament Inventory (CCTI; Rowe & Plomin, 1977); Revised Infant Temperament Questionnaire (RITQ; Carey & McDevitt, 1978); Dimensions of Temperament Survey (Lerner, Palermo, Spiro, & Nesselroade, 1982); Toddler Temperament Questionnaire (TTQ; Fullard, McDevitt, & Carey, 1984); Children's Behaviour Questionnaire (Rothbart, Ahadi, Hershey, & Fisher, 2001); Infant Behaviour Questionnaire-Revised (IBQ-R; Gartstein & Rothbart, 2003). However, in this article we have chosen to focus on one of the most widely used parent-rated measures of temperament: the Emotionality, Activity, Sociability, and Impulsivity Scale (EASI; Buss, Plomin, & Willerman, 1973) and its iteration, the Emotionality, Activity, Sociability, and Shyness Temperament Survey (EAS; Buss & Plomin, 1984). Although several existing measures of temperament are appropriate for adults (i.e., EASI-III), infants (RITQ and IBQ-R), or young children (TTQ), the EASI and EAS are of the few measures of temperament designed specifically for children (originally ages 1-9 years). The EASI is an often-used measure of child temperament in the area of childhood preoperative anxiety research (e.g., Finley, Stewart, Buffett-Jerrott, Wright, & Millington, 2006; Fortier, Del Rosario, Martin, & Kain, 2010; Kain, Mayes, Caldwell-Andrews, Karas, & McClain, 2006; Kain et al., 1998; Kain, Mayes, Weisman, & Hofstadter, 2000; Wright, Stewart, & Finley, 2013), although the psychometric properties have not always been acceptable (noted specifically by Finley et al., 2006 and Wright, Wright et al., 2013). The measure (and its iteration) continues to be used without modification and has not been reviewed systematically.

Development of EASI and EAS

EASI

The EASI was developed as a parent-rated measure of child temperament; however, there are parallel teacher-report and self- report versions as well (Buss & Plomin, 1984). The EASI is comprised of 20 parent-rated items, with five items on each of the four temperament subscales. Each item is rated on a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high). After reverse-scoring one item from each scale, scores are summed and divided by five, resulting in four subscales (Emotionality, Activity, Sociability, and Impulsivity) with a possible score range of 5 to 25 (Buss & Plomin, 1975). Emotionality varies from an almost stoic lack of reaction to intense or out of control emotional reactions. Examples of high emotionality in children are extreme crying, tantrums, difficulty being soothed, and a low threshold for aversive stimuli (Buss & Plomin, 1975; Goldsmith et al., 1987). Activity refers to total energy output (Buss & Plomin, 1975). Individuals vary from lethargy to almost hypomanic energetic Spelling: behaviour (Goldsmith et al., 1987). The active person is typically busy and in a hurry (Buss & Plomin, 1975). Sociability is defined as the preference for being with others rather than being alone. Sociable individuals seek to share activities, receive attention from others, and engage in social interaction (Goldsmith et al., 1987). Impulsivity involves the tendency to respond quickly rather than inhibiting one's response or planning before acting (Buss & Plomin, 1975). …

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