Dysregulated Fear, Social Inhibition, and Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia: A Replication and Extension

Kristin A. Buss, Elizabeth L. Davis, Nilam Ram, Michael Coccia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Behavioral inhibition indicates increased risk for development of social anxiety. Recent work has identified a pattern of dysregulated fear (DF), characterized by high fear in low-threat situations, that provides a more precise marker of developmental risk through early childhood. This study tested a new longitudinal sample of children (n = 124) from ages 24 to 48 months. Replicating prior findings, at 24 months, we identified a pattern of fearful behavior across contexts marked by higher fear to putatively low-threat situations. DF was associated with higher parental report of social inhibition at 24, 36, and 48 months. Extending prior findings, we observed differences in cardiac physiology during fear-eliciting situations, suggesting that the neurobiological underpinnings of DF relate to difficulty with regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e214-e228
JournalChild development
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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