Individual differences in temperament emerge in the first months of life. Some infants display a heightened sensitivity to novelty and uncertainty in the world around them, leading a subset to fearfully withdraw from the social environment. Extreme forms of this temperament, Behavioral inhibition (BI), are associated with increased risk for social anxiety disorder. Indeed, the link is so strong that some suggest that BI is not simply a risk factor for anxiety, but rather a milder form of the disorder. The current overview describes the literature linking BI and anxiety, highlighting the unique biobehavioral profiles evident in each construct. It then highlights specific evidence that may help distinguish the form and function of BI and anxiety. Finally, we briefly discuss unresolved issues that may help inform future work aimed at improving our understanding of individual development and shape therapeutic interventions directed at specific mechanisms of disorder.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Behavioral Neuroscience