Application of the seven-factor-model of personality to an Italian preschool sample

Maria Grazia Melegari, Margherita Innocenzi, Assunta Marano, Loredana De Rosa, Renato Donfrancesco, Sandor Rozsa, C. Robert Cloninger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objective Advances in dimensional assessment of children in healthy and clinical populations has renewed interest in the study of temperament. Cloninger’s Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) has shown high reliability and internal consistency. Adult and adolescent versions have been translated into a number of languages and validated in cross-cultural studies worldwide. To date only one preschool-TCI-based study has been conducted in early infancy with teachers as observers. The present study is aimed to test an Italian Preschool version of the Temperament and Character Inventory (PsTCI). This is the first replication and the first validation study of TCI on preschoolers with parents as observers. Methods: 395 preschool children, recruited from pediatric communities and day-care centres throughout Italy, participated in the study. Parents of each child enrolled in the study and completed a PsTCI about the child. Standard psychometric tests of reliability and validation were performed. Results: Exploratory factor analyses demonstrated the presence of distinct domains for temperament and character. TCI dimensions had good internal consistency with Cronbach’s alpha ranging values (|0.60|–|0.81|). Gender differences were found for Harm Avoidance (β=-0.186; p≤0.001) and Self-Directedness (β=-0.216; p≤0.01), and accounted for 5–35% of the observed variance. Conclusion: The present work suggests the psychological complexity of Cloninger’s model and confirms its application in pre-school children from diverse environmental and cultural backgrounds. The results confirm that Cloninger’s instrument for temperament and character evaluations can also be used with different observers and highlight the importance of considering cultural and demographic differences in the assessment of temperament and character in preschoolers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-429
Number of pages11
JournalPsychiatry Investigation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2014



  • Italian PsTCI
  • Preschoolers
  • Temperament and character inventory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

Cite this

Melegari, M. G., Innocenzi, M., Marano, A., De Rosa, L., Donfrancesco, R., Rozsa, S., & Robert Cloninger, C. (2014). Application of the seven-factor-model of personality to an Italian preschool sample. Psychiatry Investigation, 11(4), 419-429.