To investigate the relationship between infant temperament characteristics assessed at 4 weeks of age and the duration of infant crying and fussing during the second month of life.
Families were enrolled in this prospective study during prenatal classes, and 60 infants completed the study. Temperament was assessed when the infant was 4 weeks of age using the Early Infancy Temperament Questionnaire, and crying and fussing was assessed on 16 days during the second month of life using a parent-completed infant behavior diary.
Ratings of the total duration of infant crying and fussing correlated significantly with the sum score on the temperament questionnaire (r = 0.36; P = .005). A longer duration of crying and fussing was associated with infants with high intensity (r = 0.43; P = .001) and low distractibility (r = 0.37; P = .003).
The finding that mothers rating their infants as having high intensity and low distractibility is associated with increased crying duration supports a growing body of literature suggesting that infants with high levels of crying are more reactive to sensory stimuli and harder to soothe than those who cry less. Physicians counseling parents of infants with persistent crying should recognize the infant characteristics associated with increased crying.