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Temperament in preschool children with sickle cell anaemia
  1. Michelle Downes1,2,
  2. Michelle de Haan2,
  3. Tess O’Leary1,
  4. Paul T Telfer3,
  5. Fenella J Kirkham2
  1. 1 School of Psychology, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2 Developmental Neurosciences, UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, London, UK
  3. 3 Department of Haematology, Barts Health NHS Trust, Royal London Hospital, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michelle Downes, School of Psychology, University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland; michelle.downes{at}


Aims Few studies have investigated the potential impact of sickle cell anaemia (SCA) on temperament. The aim of the current study was to investigate temperament in preschool children with SCA and to establish the reliability of the Children’s Behaviour Questionnaire (CBQ) in this population.

Methods The CBQ, a parent-report measure of temperament, was completed by parents of 21 preschool children with SCA and a control group of parents of typically developing children, matched for age, ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

Results A significant difference between groups was identified for the dimension of negative affectivity only, with specific differences observed in the discomfort subdomain. Patients with a greater number of hospital admissions in the previous year were reported to have higher levels of discomfort.

Conclusions Preschool children with SCA are reported to have higher rates of negative affectivity, particularly discomfort. Future research is required to investigate the potential influence of dysregulated negative emotions and discomfort on disease management and quality of life throughout childhood.

  • child psychology
  • haematology
  • pain
  • sickle cell disease
  • temperament

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  • Contributors MD designed the study, performed the research, analysed the data and wrote the manuscript under the supervision of the other authors. MDH, PTT and FJK designed the study. TO contributed to analysis of the data. All authors edited the drafts and approved the final version.

  • Funding National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust and University College London. Child Health Research Charitable Incorporated Organisation.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval Obtained from the local NHS ethics committee and University College London Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.