The relationship between children’s masturbation behavior and their mothers’ temperament and character dimensions: a case-control study
Selma Tural Hesapcioglu, Evrim Aktepe, Funda Ozyay, Umut Kaytanli, Sevim Ozmen, Dilber Ademhan Tural, Samet Kose
Objective: Childhood masturbation (CM) is the self-stimulation of the genitalia by a child with the intention of obtaining pleasure and is frequently associated with physical distress signs and symptoms. In this study, we aimed to examine the temperament and character traits of mothers of a clinical sample of infants and young children, who presented with the complaint of masturbation compared to a control group. Sociodemographic and clinical features of the children in the study group were also assessed.
Methods: Fifty two infants and children (36 girls and 16 boys) with a mean age of 4.4±1.7 years exhibiting masturbation and their mothers were included in this study together with a control group consisting of 52 age, gender, and age of mother-matched infants and children. Socio-demographic data and clinical information was obtained through interviews by the researchers and the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) was completed by the mothers. All statistical analyses were performed using SPSS for Windows, Version 20.0.
Results: The Total Novelty Seeking (NS), Impulsivity subscale (NS2) of Novelty Seeking, Attachment (RD3) subscale of Reward Dependence, and Transpersonal Identification (ST2) subscale of Self-Transcendence scores were significantly higher in the study group; while the Total Self-Directedness and Responsibility subscale of the (SD1) Self-Directedness scores were significantly lower in the mothers of CM compared to control group. According to the logistic regression model, the odds of exhibiting masturbation increased in a child as the scores of Impulsiveness subscale of Novelty Seeking dimension and the Attachment subscale of Reward Dependence scores increased and the scores of Responsibility subscale of Self-Directedness scores were decreased in the mothers of CM group.
Conclusions: The findings may indicate a relationship (as a mediator) between problematic childhood masturbation and the temperament and character traits of their mothers, but it should be further studied in large samples.
Key words: childhood masturbation, temperament and character, mother, impulsivity attachment, responsibility, transpersonal identification