RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SELF-REPORTED CHILDHOOD BEHAVIORAL INHIBITION AND LIFETIME ANXIETY DISORDERS IN A CLINICAL SAMPLE


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Abstract

To examine the association between an early inhibited temperament and lifetime anxiety disorders, we studied a sample of patients with major depression who were not selected on the basis of comorbid axis I anxiety disorders. One-hundred eighty-nine adults (range = 17-68 years) referred to a tertiary depression unit underwent structured diagnostic interviews for depression and anxiety and completed two self-report measures of behavioral inhibition, the retrospective measure of behavioural inhibition (RMBI) [Gladstone and Parker, 2005] and the adult measure of behavioural inhibition (AMBI) [Gladstone and Parker, 2005]. Patients' scores were classified into “low,” “moderate,” or “high” inhibition. While groups did not differ in terms of depression severity, there were differences across groups in clinically diagnosed nonmelancholic status and age of onset of first episode. Those reporting a high degree of childhood inhibition were significantly more likely to qualify for a diagnosis of social phobia, and this association was independent of their scores on the AMBI. Findings are discussed in light of the existing risk-factor literature and support the hypothesis that an early inhibited temperament may be a significant precursor to later anxiety, especially social anxiety disorder.

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