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Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2011 Aug;13(4):251-7. doi: 10.1007/s11920-011-0201-7.

Selective mutism: an update and suggestions for future research.

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Department of Psychology, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32828, USA.


Speculation continues regarding the accurate classification of selective mutism and potential etiologic factors. Current research has shed some light on several factors that may predispose some children to this disorder, but conclusions are difficult to draw due to reliance on subjective measures, few comparison groups, and/or limited theoretical grounding. This article provides an update on recent efforts to elucidate the etiologic pathways of selective mutism and on the current debate regarding its strong overlap with anxiety disorders, most notably social phobia. An additional attempt is made to examine findings based on a developmental perspective that accounts for multiple pathways, context, and the developmental stage of the child. Emotion regulation theory is offered as a potential factor in why some children may be more vulnerable to the etiologic factors described. Suggestions for future research are offered based on this integration of information.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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