Temperamental Risk Factors for Pediatric Anxiety Disorders

Part of the Current Clinical Psychiatry book series (CCPSY)


Fearful temperament, most often conceptualized as behavioral inhibition, has been found to be a robust predictor for the development of pediatric anxiety disorders, with most evidence suggesting a link with social anxiety disorder. In addition to a detailed review of behavioral inhibition, recent work that supports a new construct, dysregulated fear, is also reviewed in this chapter. New evidence is presented that demonstrates that dysregulated fear is conceptually and methodologically distinct from behavioral inhibition and improves the prediction of which fearful toddlers are at risk for pediatric anxiety disorders. The following review will summarize the empirical bases for these two approaches and their role in the development of anxiety disorders, as well as evidence for biomarkers, executive processes, and parenting environment that exacerbate or ameliorate this early temperament risk. Specifically, research on fearful temperament has identified multiple trajectories and outcomes for children with the same underlying temperamental biases. That is, not all young children who display fearful temperament maintain this behavioral profile or develop anxiety symptoms. Therefore, this chapter summarizes evidence for biological, regulatory, and parental processes that account for these divergent trajectories and addresses the question of which fearful children are at highest risk for developing anxiety disorders.


Fearful temperament Behavioral inhibition Dysregulated fear Maternal overprotection Pediatric anxiety disorders Development Biomarkers Executive processes 


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Psychology DepartmentMiami UniversityOxfordUSA

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