Stable behavioral inhibition and its association with anxiety disorder

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1992 Jan;31(1):103-11. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199201000-00016.


"Behavioral inhibition to the unfamiliar" is a temperamental construct reflecting the tendency to be shy, timid, and constrained in novel situations. Previous work has suggested that it may be associated with anxiety disorders in children. Psychopathology was assessed in children from a nonclinical sample originally identified as behaviorally inhibited or uninhibited at 21 months and followed through 7 1/2 years. Children who remained inhibited at 4, 5 1/2 and 7 1/2 years (Stable Inhibited) had higher rates of anxiety disorders than children who were not consistently inhibited. Their parents had higher rates of multiple childhood anxiety disorders and of continuing anxiety disorder. These results suggest that the association between behavioral inhibition and anxiety disorder is accounted for by children who have stable behavioral inhibition.

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Personality Assessment
  • Personality Development*
  • Risk Factors
  • Shyness*
  • Temperament*