Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 194–204 | Cite as

The Contribution of Temperamental and Cognitive Factors to Childhood Anxiety Disorder Symptoms: A Closer Look at Negative Affect, Behavioral Inhibition, and Anxiety Sensitivity

  • Andres G. Viana
  • Elizabeth J. Kiel
  • Candice A. Alfano
  • Laura J. Dixon
  • Cara A. Palmer
Original Paper


This study examined the role of anxiety sensitivity as an explanatory variable in the link between two temperamental dimensions (i.e., behavioral inhibition and negative affect) and anxiety disorder symptom severity in a sample of children with anxiety disorders. Forty-four children (52 % African American) between 8 and 12 years of age and their mothers participated in this study. An assessment battery consisting of diagnostic interviews, questionnaires, and behavioral assessment of behavioral inhibition was administered. Findings revealed that anxiety sensitivity was a significant explanatory variable linking child self-reports of behavioral inhibition and negative affect to anxiety disorder symptom severity. For parent-completed measures, only direct effects of behavioral inhibition on anxiety disorder symptom severity were found. The clinical implications of our findings, including the importance and feasibility of anxiety sensitivity and behavioral inhibition assessments as part of routine clinical care of children with anxiety disorders are discussed, along with the limitations of our study.


Anxiety Children Temperament Negative affect Behavioral inhibition Anxiety sensitivity 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyMiami UniversityOxfordUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MississippiOxfordUSA

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