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Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol. 2007 Jul;13(3):197-206.

Childhood behavioral inhibition and the experience of social anxiety in American Indian adolescents.

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University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA.


American Indian youth may be at increased risk for anxiety-related problems. Social anxiety is the most common form of anxiety experienced by adolescents, yet little research specific to American Indians has been conducted. Childhood temperament, especially behavioral inhibition (BI), has been identified as an important risk factor for social anxiety in other racial and ethnic groups. This study examined BI in relation to social anxiety in a cross-sectional community-based sample of 86 rural southeastern American Indian adolescents. Patterns of childhood BI suggested cultural variations in the way temperament relates to adolescent social anxiety. Specifically, nonsocially based fears in childhood were associated with social anxiety symptoms in adolescence, which is in contrast to previous findings in non American Indian samples that have suggested continuity between social inhibition in childhood and social anxiety in adolescence. It is recommended that major psychological risk factors, including temperament, be evaluated within the specific social and cultural context of the adolescent population of interest.

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