Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of personality in children: A new questionnaire

Cooper, Andrew; Stirling, Sarah; Dawe, Sharon; Pugnaghi, Giulia and Corr, Philip J. 2017. Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of personality in children: A new questionnaire. Personality and Individual Differences, 115, pp. 65-69. ISSN 0191-8869 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

We report the development of a self-report questionnaire of the reinforcement sensitivity theory (RST) of personality for use with children. Focus groups were held with children to sample their experiences of situations modelled on components of three RST systems: fight-flight-freeze system (FFFS, related to fear), behavioural inhibition system (BIS, related to anxiety), and behavioural approach system (BAS, related to approach). The thematic responses formed the conceptual anchors to the development of test items that were examined using exploratory factor analysis in a sample of 288 9–13 year olds. After eliminating items that did not load on their designated factor, or substantially cross-loaded over factors, the original 48 items were reduced to 21 items: 7 items for each of the BIS, FFFS and BAS factors. The separation of the BIS and FFFS items across two factors is consistent with the revised model of RST. We offer this new questionnaire as a RST measure of fundamental motivation and emotion traits in children.

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Personality; Approach; Avoidance; Goal conflict; Reinforcement sensitivity theory; Children

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15 June 2016Accepted
16 July 2016Published Online
1 September 2017Published

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Date Deposited:

25 May 2017 16:14

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:27

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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