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August 1954

Child Training and Personality.

Author Affiliations

By John W. M. Whiting and Irvin L. Child. Price, Pp. 353. Yale University Press, 143 Elm St., New Haven 7, Conn., 1953.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1954;88(2):284. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1954.02050100286020

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This book is a report of a study pertaining principally to the effect which child-training practices have on child personality and the effect that adult personality has on customary responses to illness. The sources of material were taken from ethnographic reports regarding the habits and culture of 75 different primitive societies. Five systems of childhood behavior were dealt with, namely, oral, anal, sexual, dependence, and aggression. Comparisons made betweeen the primitive races and American middle class groups in certain types of behavior indicated that the American group was quite extreme in the severity of toilet training and quite severe in the general socialization of their children. Sex training was studied from four aspects–masturbation, heterosexual play, homosexual play, and immodesty. Reactions to illness was judged to be a reliable index of personality characteristics.

Psychoanalytic theory, according to these authors, indicates that extreme frustration or extreme indulgence of a particular form

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