Development and Psychopathology

Behavioral inhibition and anxiety disorders: Multiple levels of a resilience process

Kathryn Amey Degnan a1c1 and Nathan A. Fox a1
a1 University of Maryland

Article author query
degnan ka   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
fox na   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Behavioral inhibition is reported to be one of the most stable temperamental characteristics in childhood. However, there is also evidence for discontinuity of this trait, with infants and toddlers who were extremely inhibited displaying less withdrawn social behavior as school-age children or adolescents. There are many possible explanations for the discontinuity in this temperament over time. They include the development of adaptive attention and regulatory skills, the influence of particular styles of parenting or caregiving contexts, and individual characteristics of the child such as their level of approach–withdrawal motivation or their gender. These discontinuous trajectories of behaviorally inhibited children and the factors that form them are discussed as examples of the resilience process.

c1 Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Kathryn Amey Degnan, University of Maryland, 3304 Benjamin Building, College Park, MD 20742; E-mail: