The development of the gut microbiome and temperament during infancy and early childhood: A systematic review.


Temperament in early childhood is a good predictor of later personality, behavior, and risk of psychopathology. Variation in temperament can be explained by environmental and biological factors. One biological mechanism of interest is the gut microbiome (GM), which has been associated with mental and physical health. This review synthesized existing literature evaluating the relationship between GM composition and diversity, and temperament in early life. Web of Science, PsycInfo, PubMed, and Scopus were searched, and data were extracted according to PRISMA guidelines. In total, 1562 studies were identified, of which six remained following application of exclusion/inclusion criteria. The findings suggest that there is an association between higher alpha diversity and temperament: greater Surgency/Extraversion and High-Intensity Pleasure in males, and lower Effortful Control in females. Unique community structures (beta diversity) were found for Surgency/Extraversion in males and Fear in females. An emerging pattern of positive temperament traits being associated with GM communities biased toward short-chain fatty acid production from a metabolism based on dietary fiber and complex carbohydrates was observed and is worthy of further investigation. To gain deeper understanding of the relationship, future research should investigate further the functional aspects of the microbiome and the influence of diet.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences > Aston Institute of Health & Neurodevelopment (AIHN)
College of Health & Life Sciences
College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Biosciences
College of Health & Life Sciences > Chronic and Communicable Conditions
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution ( License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Child,Development,Gut Microbiome,Gut-Brain Axis,Infant,Temperament
Publication ISSN: 0012-1630
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 17:50
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2022 14:56
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://onlinel ... .1002/dev.22306 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Review article
Published Date: 2022-11
Published Online Date: 2022-07-13
Accepted Date: 2022-05-21
Authors: Alving-Jessep, Emma
Botchway, Edith
Wood, Amanda (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-1537-6858)
Hilton, Anthony (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-8025-5270)
Blissett, Jackie (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-0275-6413)



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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