Prevention of later anxiety problems would best be accomplished by identifying at-risk children early in development. For example, children who develop Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) may show social withdrawal in the form of social inhibition (i.e., shyness with unfamiliar adults and peers) at school entry. Although the use of children’s perceptions of their own social inhibition would provide insight into early risk, the utility of young children’s self-reports remains unclear. The current study examined whether children deemed more extreme on social inhibition or social anxiety by adult report provided self-report of social inhibition that related to observed social reticence in the laboratory. Participants included 85 kindergarten children (36 female, 49 male), their parents, and their teachers. Moderation analyses revealed that children’s self-reported social inhibition related significantly to observed social reticence under the conditions of high parent-reported social inhibition, high teacher-reported social inhibition, and high SAD symptoms. These results suggest that the most inhibited children are aware of their behavior and can report it in a meaningfully way as young as kindergarten age.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health