Two recent advances in the study of fearful temperament (behavioural inhibition) include the validation of dysregulated fear as a temperamental construct that more specifically predicts later social withdrawal and anxiety, and the use of conceptual and statistical models that place parenting as a mechanism of development from temperament to these outcomes. The current study further advances these areas by examining whether protective parenting mediated the relation between dysregulated fear in toddlerhood and social withdrawal in kindergarten. Participants included 93 toddlers and their mothers, who engaged in laboratory tasks assessing traditional fearful temperament, dysregulated fear, and protective parenting. When children reached kindergarten, they returned to the laboratory for a multimethod assessment of social withdrawal. Results confirmed the hypothesis that dysregulated fear predicted social withdrawal through protective parenting, and this occurred above and beyond the effect of traditional fearful temperament. These findings bolster support for the use of dysregulated fear as a temperamental construct related to, but perhaps more discerning of risk than traditionally measured fearful temperament/behavioural inhibition and highlight the importance of transactional influences between the individual and the caregiving environment in the development of social withdrawal.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology