4 years ago

A Neurobehavioral Mechanism Linking Behaviorally Inhibited Temperament and Later Adolescent Social Anxiety

Behavioral inhibition (BI) is a temperament identified in early childhood that is a risk factor for later social anxiety. However, mechanisms underlying development of social anxiety remain unclear. To better understand the emergence of social anxiety, longitudinal studies investigating changes at both behavioral neural levels are needed. Method BI was assessed in the laboratory at ages 2 and 3 (N = 268). Children returned at age 12, and electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded while performing a flanker task under two conditions: once while believing they were being observed by peers, and once while not being observed. This methodology isolated changes in error monitoring (error-related negativity; ERN) and behavior (post-error reaction time [RT] slowing) as a function of social context. At age 12, current social anxiety symptoms and lifetime diagnoses of social anxiety were obtained. Results Childhood BI prospectively predicted social-specific ERN increases and social anxiety symptoms in adolescence; these symptoms directly related to clinical diagnoses. Serial mediation analysis revealed social ERN changes explained relations between BI and both social anxiety symptoms (n = 107) and diagnosis (n = 92), but only insofar as social context also led to increased post-error RT slowing (a measure of error preoccupation); this model was not significantly related to generalized anxiety. Conclusion Results extend prior work on socially-induced changes in error monitoring and error preoccupation. These measures may index a neurobehavioral mechanism linking behavioral inhibition to adolescent social anxiety symptoms and diagnosis. This mechanism may relate more strongly to social than generalized anxiety in the peri-adolescent period.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0890856717317732

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