Risk for Internalizing during Kindergarten for Children with Dysregulated Fear

Project: Research project

Project Details


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): A substantial number of children and adolescents develop internalizing disorders such as anxiety. Research and theory on the etiology and prevention of depression and anxiety has focused, in part, on individual risk factors such as fearful temperament. However, only small to moderate effects of fearful temperament on risk for behaviors in the internalizing spectrum have been found. [Delineating the developmental process from early childhood emotionality to internalizing disorders a goal of developmental psychopathology and this project. The question is which fearful children are at greatest risk? The dominant approach to defining and measuring fearful temperament focuses predominantly on how much fear is observed and then averaging across situations to identify children at risk.] An alternative to this approach, outlined in this proposal, focuses on examination of the dvsregulation of emotional behavior to identify at-risk children. Specifically, for the proposed research, dysregulation will be measured by taking into account the eliciting context of the child's behavior such that extreme fear in situations deemed to be low in threat would constitute a maladaptive (i.e., dysregulated response) and put the child at greater risk. The proposed research extends the previous literature linking fearful temperament with risk for internalizing spectrum disorders by examining two cohorts of children using observational, parent report, teacher report, child self-report, and physiological methodologies. The overarching goal is to identify a more homogeneous group of children at greater risk for internalizing behaviors compared to typically-identified fearful children.] Children with these dysregulated fear profiles will be followed from 24 months of age through the first year of school (age 6). The proposed research will address the following goals. Research Goal 1 addresses whether children with dysregulated fear profiles at 24 months of age are more likely to have emotional and behavioral adjustment problems consistent with the internalizing spectrum 3 years later, during kindergarten. [Research Goal 2 addresses the role that physiological reactivity has in identifying dysregulated fear and the association between dysregulated fear and internalizing.] Research Goal 3 addresses the stability of dysregulated fear behavior from 24 months of age to 6 years of age. As discussed throughout this proposal this is an innovative approach to characterizing fearful temperament, and it is hypothesized that dysregulation of fear will be a more efficacious approach to identifying risk for anxiety disorders. The proposed research has the potential to contribute significantly to the literature and encourage future research to evaluate the adaptive and maladaptive pairings of behavior and context and the implications this has for adjustment throughout development.
Effective start/end date7/1/066/30/13


  • National Institute of Mental Health: $359,497.00
  • National Institute of Mental Health: $368,029.00
  • National Institute of Mental Health: $387,685.00
  • National Institute of Mental Health: $388,562.00
  • National Institute of Mental Health: $389,663.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.