Stability of tactile defensiveness across cultures: European and American children's responses to the Touch Inventory for Elementary School Aged Children (TIE)

Charlotte Royeen, Keli Mu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Screening and assessment for single and discrete sensory systems, such as screening for tactile defensiveness, can provide valid information for identifying sensory processing dysfunction of children. Tactile defensiveness may be considered to be a specialized type of what was previously called a sensory integrative disorder and now is termed a sensory modulation disorder. The current study was designed to examine further the phenomenon of tactile defensiveness, particularly the stability of the concept, across different cultures. In this study, the test scores of 28 European children (16 girls and 12 boys of three different nationalities) on the Touch Inventory for Elementary School Aged Children (TIE) were collected and analysed (Royeen and Fortune, 1990). The TIE scores of the European sample were compared with that of the American sample in the original TIE study (Royeen and Fortune, 1990). Results revealed that the mean test scores on the TIE between the American sample and European sample were very similar (n = 415, M = 41.0 vs. n = 28, M = 39.5) and no significant difference was found between the two samples (t = 0.99, P <0.05). Internal consistency of the TIE on the European sample was found to be good and close to that obtained from the American sample (0.78 vs. 0.89). The current study provides evidence that tactile defensiveness is a stable phenomenon across different cultures as measured by the TIE. Limitations of the study include use of a small and convenient sample of European children. Further studies are recommended to examine tactile defensiveness as a clinical phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-174
Number of pages10
JournalOccupational Therapy International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Occupational Therapy

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