Behavioural Inhibition as a Risk Factor for Mood and Anxiety Disorders
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Mood and anxiety disorders are leading causes of disability worldwide. Thus, early intervention strategies are needed. Behavioural inhibition (BI) has been proposed as a risk factor for these disorders, however, the strength and specifity of these associations are unclear. In study 1, using meta-analysis methodology I established the prospective relationship between BI and anxiety disorders. I found BI in childhood was a significant predictor of anxiety at follow-up. In study 2, I investigated BI using an observational assessment in 59 preschool-aged children of parents with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and controls. I found BI was most strongly associated with parental diagnosis of anxiety disorders, although this relationship did not reach statistical significance. These findings suggest BI is a strong risk factor for anxiety, and may be a marker of familial risk for anxiety disorders. Targeting BI, especially in children of parents with anxiety, may be beneficial for developmental outcomes.