The aim of this paper is to develop a functioning Czech language-based IBQR VSF as a tool to describe the child’s temperament at the of age 3-12 months. The child’s temperament is considered as a relevant personal variable in child developmental pathways. The purpose of the adaptation process was to modify and translate the IBQR VSF temperament assessment instrument into the Czech based on Rothbart’s theoretical approach. The original translation was modified on the basis of feedback by professional translators, three bilingual psychologists, and a sample of 15 Czech mothers. A backtranslation by a professional translator was then assessed by the authors of the original (English-language) instruments. For the final version of the measure, the authors of the original instrument judged that all of the items were consistent with the original items, and a second sample of 15 collaborating mothers identified no problems with the Czech items. The reliability of the adapted questionnaire was verified by calculation of the Cronbach's alpha, first calculated separately for the whole set of boys and girls and then individually for all the age and gender subgroups. The results obtained, as the functional tool IBQR-VSF, will be offered to psychologists specializing in diagnosing children in early age groups. We also expect interest on the part of specialists working with the parents of prematurely born or handicapped children.
Temperament in early childhood suggests trends in the individual’s behavioural development. The
authors of this paper define temperament as the way individuals react to the social and emotional stimuli
of their immediate environment. Features of the individual’s temperament are already clearly identifiable
in infancy and are relatively stable in the course of the child’s maturation. Temperament is a sum of
characteristic or inborn personality features connected with excitability and hence with sensitivity to
stimuli in both normal and pathological forms. A deviation from "normal" temperament in early
childhood may be seen as a risk factor that may manifest itself at a later stage in behavioural problems.
Temperament is described as biologically conditioned individual differences in behaviour and emotional
reactions to stimuli from the surroundings (Rothbart, 2007). Temperament includes both reactivity, which
means the intensity and duration of the reaction to a stimulus in terms of behavioural or emotional
reaction, and regulation, which is the ability of the individual to modulate their response (Rothbart, 1988).
Temperament as a complex phenomenon consists of the following parameters, described in detail below
(Rothbart, 1981; Putnam et al., 2014, 2006; Gartstein & Rothbart, 2003): Activity Level, Distress to
Limitations, Approach, Fear, Duration of Orienting, Smiling and Laughter, Vocal Reactivity, Sadness,
Perceptual Sensitivity, High and/or Low Intensity Pleasure, Cuddliness, Soothability, and Falling
Many authors have studied and evaluated the temperament of infants, some of them through tools
they developed themselves, and many of which are commonly used today. For example, "The Bayley
Scales of Infant Development" (BSID) evaluate the cognitive, behavioural and motor development of the
child from the first to the twenty-fourth month of age. Nancy Bayley developed a test allowing retardation
in key developmental areas to be described with regard to functional role, which facilitates early
diagnosis before the commencement of a psychological or other intervention. The test is a widespread
tool for the comprehensive description of infant development. In the first half of the last century Charlotte
Buehler introduced her "Buehler baby test". The test included items which the author considered crucial
for the evaluation of the development of the child at the given age (sense reception, bodily movements,
social behaviour, learning, manipulation of materials and mental productivity).
Ackerman (1942) assessed this test critically, but regardless of her results this assessment
confirmed the importance of evaluation of the child’s behaviour in infancy, including its temperament.
Another very specific task, dictated by the increasing number of prematurely born babies, is diagnosis of
the level of maturity and potential deviations in these children. One of the tools used for this purpose is
the Neurobehavioural Assessment of the Preterm Infant by Anneliese Korner (Korner, 1996), where
elements of temperament appear as items monitored for the purpose of the description of the development
and maturation of prematurely born children.
Another tool deserving attention is the Infant Behaviour Questionnaire (Rothbart, 1981). The first
version of the questionnaire by Mary K. Rothbart focused on six areas of baby temperament – activity
level, soothability, fear, distress to limitations, smiling and laughter, and duration of orienting. The
original version of the Infant Behaviour Questionnaire (IBQ) was revised by its author and by Maria A.
Gartstein in the same year, with changes in the individual scale items and extensions of some of the
scales. The latest revisions of the questionnaire were performed by Samuel Putnam (2014) and his team
and are called IBQ-Revised (IBQ-R). There are Short (91 items; 14 scales) and Very Short (36 items; 3
broad scales) versions.
The fact that the IBQR questionnaire is based on cooperation with parents was the reason for its
selection for our present study. The combination of the approaches of special pedagogy and psychology
to infant temperament allows for the identification of children with signs of developmental retardation.
The advantages are the possibility of more accurate targeting of the intervention programme and
especially of encouragement of parental cooperation and support for their ability to observe their child’s
behaviour, describe its manifestations, and understand their child’s reactions better. In the case of children
with a handicap or developmental retardation the benefit takes the form of an informed parent as an
effective collaborator in their child’s diagnosis and therapy.
Czech version of the temperament assessment instrument – IBQR VSF – based on Rothbart’s
Whether a functioning Czech language-based IBQR VSF can be adopted as a tool to describe the
child’s temperament at the age of 3-12 months.
Purpose of the Study
The main aim was to adapt the existing IBQR questionnaire for the specific environment of the
Czech Republic. Our task was not only its translation but also modifications of the individual items to
make them correspond to the specific cultural and linguistic features of the Czech environment (Gartstein,
2006). A similar process was described in detail in the case of the adaptation of the questionnaire to the
Brazilian environment (Klein, Putnam, & Linhares, 2009). At present (June 2016) there are 21 national
versions of the IBQR questionnaire;
In the first stage we used the IBQR 2000 created by Mary K. Rothbart and Maria A. Gartstein – a
questionnaire with 191 items. A translation agency translated the questionnaire into Czech. The first
version of the Czech translation with the original wording of the questionnaire was distributed to five
paediatric psychologists fluent in the English language for comments and potential suggestions for
adaptations of the Czech text towards increased comprehensibility and unambiguousness.
The second stage involved distribution of the questionnaire to 15 Czech mothers with children at
the age of 3-12 months. The purpose was to obtain their views on the comprehensibility and adequacy of
the individual items as an input for further modifications of the text part. The mothers made no substantial
comments except for a complaint about the number of items to be filled out – 191.
The third stage was represented by back-translation of the questionnaire into English – again by an
independent agency. This version was submitted to the author (S. Putnam) for assessment of the
faithfulness of the meaning, clarity, and the content of the individual questionnaire items.
The kind support of Dr. Putnam signalled the commencement of our mutual cooperation in the
fourth stage – formulation of the final wording of the questionnaire items. On the basis of his comments
and recommendations the questionnaire was adapted to the specific linguistic and cultural environment of
the Czech Republic. Considering cultural differences, the work with items 79 and 80 was particularly
interesting as the concept of play is different in the two cultures and we had to arrive at a definition of
play and the characteristics of the child’s and the adult’s activity in order to obtain approval.
Stage five – Feasibility study. In this stage we created the IBQR – very short form (VSF) with 37
items – and sent it as a pilot version to 30 mothers of infants at the age of 3-12 months who were willing
to cooperate. Its feasibility was confirmed by the pilot test, without any further comments or suggestions
on the part of the mothers who were addressed.
In stage six we began the collection of data on the Czech infant population. We addressed
paediatric surgeries, maternity centres, and other sites visited by mothers of healthy babies. The snowball
method resulted in 450 filled-out questionnaires from the whole country, of which 24 questionnaires were
excluded because of mistakes in the data – most often the age of the baby exceeded the limit of 12
months. As for the informative value of the data obtained, to define validity we needed to obtain 383 sets
of source data, corresponding to the 100,000 newborns/year in the Czech Republic (Hague & Jungmann,
2003). This is how data can be obtained with a 5% level of significance. In the case of the present
research the number of questionnaires needed for valid statistical processing was even exceeded.
Age and gender
The subsequent statistical processing included 426 babies at the age of 3-12 months. Out of the
total number of 426 babies, there were 205 boys and 221 girls. In harmony with the procedure used by
Rothbart (1981), the respondents were further subdivided into three age categories (Table no. 2):
The youngest boys were 3 months old and the oldest were 12 months old (M= 8.8; SD= 2.7; MOD
=12). The same youngest and oldest age was applied to the subgroup of girls (M= 8.9; SD = 2.8; MOD=
The reliability of the adapted questionnaire was verified by calculation of the Cronbach's alpha,
first calculated separately for the whole set of boys and girls and then individually for all the age and
gender subgroups (Table no. 3):
Out of the total number of 426 respondents, 48% were boys and 52% girls. The mean ages of the
two groups were 8.8 and 8.9 months, respectively. The most frequently occurring age in both groups was
12 months. This fact may be attributed to the snowball method used for respondent selection. Further
research will focus on respondents in other age groups to balance the numbers of respondents for all age
The Cronbach’s alpha values of the individual scales for boys and girls are sufficient for it to be
possible to state that the adapted version of the questionnaire is reliable. The only exception is represented
by the Positive scale for boys at the age of 10-12 months. For this scale the Cronbach’s alpha value is low
(0.41). This fact may be caused by the frequent occurrence of the variant "cannot be assessed". Attention
will be paid to this fact in further research.
Mean values for the individual scales were calculated for the boys and the girls in the individual
age categories. Because of the numbers of respondents in these categories, the most frequently occurring
values (MOD) were also calculated, as these may show more accurate values in this case (see Tables.
Nos. 4 & 5).
The Czech version of the final IBQR-VSF questionnaire will be available on the website of its
The results obtained will be offered to psychologists specializing in diagnosing children in early
age groups. We also expect interest on the part of specialists working with the parents of prematurely
born or handicapped children. The purpose of the present study was not only to obtain a valid tool
focused on paediatric psychologists but also to get a functional aid for work with the parents of infants
with health or developmental risks. The feedback obtained from the parents who filled out the
questionnaire in the main research wave reflects a positive approach to the "instructions" on what to
observe in their own child and how and where to seek ways of activating and stimulating the child. In this
connection a research project was commenced that focused on the babies of mothers treated for alcohol
and other addictions. The expression of temperament of these children may be expected to be different
from the healthy population, together with the maternal behaviour of their mothers – attention, sensitivity,
reaction, or willingness to participate in joint activities – which will certainly also be different from the
This article was supported by grants IGA_PdF_2015_013 and IGA_CMTF_2016_013.
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18 December 2019
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Child psychology, developmental psychology, occupational psychology, industrial psychology, ethical issues
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Potmesil, M., & Potmesilova, P. (2019). Adaptation Of The Ibqr Vsf Questionnaire To The Czech Environment. In Z. Bekirogullari, M. Y. Minas, & R. X. Thambusamy (Eds.), Cognitive - Social, and Behavioural Sciences - icCSBs 2017, January, vol 20. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 250-258). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2017.01.02.26