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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1998 Dec;37(12):1308-16.

Linking self-reported childhood behavioral inhibition to adolescent social phobia.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, CA 94305-5722, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Behavioral inhibition in children has been hypothesized to be a risk factor for the later development of social phobia. However, this hypothesis has yet to be demonstrated in a prospective study. The purpose of the study presented here is to test whether behavioral inhibition in childhood constitutes a risk factor for social phobia during adolescence.

METHOD:

The sample consisted of 2,242 high school students assessed over a 4-year period. Assessments included self-report questionnaires, structured clinical interviews, and measurements of heart rate. Cox proportional hazards models were used to evaluate risk.

RESULTS:

Social avoidance, a component of behavioral inhibition, predicted onset of social phobia during high school. However, social avoidance was not related to depression in adolescence. Another component of behavioral inhibition, fearfulness, increased the risk for both social phobia and depression. Among subjects who were both socially avoidant and fearful, 22.3% developed social phobia--a risk more than four times greater than that for subjects with neither feature of behavioral inhibition.

CONCLUSION:

This prospective study demonstrates that behavioral inhibition in childhood increases the risk of social phobia in adolescence.

PMID:
9847504
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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